I frequently hear comments that apologetics is not very useful in evangelism and that “no one” comes to faith through apologetics. I’m not convinced that is accurate. In fact I know people who faith journey was greatly influenced by apologetics.
So how does apologetics fit with evangelism?
One way is what I call pre-evangelism. Just the fact that thoughtful Christians are wrestling with tough questions is a reason for Christianity to have a seat at the table. Quality apologetic material helps some people to even begin to listen to the gospel.
Usually, it is not a matter of bombarding people with Christian apologetics and then they have no choice to convert. Many apologists may wish for that, but it is not normally the case.
More often, a person is hearing from numerous different sources (individuals, online, books, etc.) and they are all part of the journey. Eventually, a person will face an obstacle (science vs faith, problem of evil, nature of truth, etc.) and they need that obstacle removed before moving on. This is where apologetics comes in.
There is another role that apologetics plays when it comes to evangelism. Apologetics may help make the Christian more confident about Christianity and that confidence may give them the motivation to share their faith.
People may say that apologetics does not make Christians. That is true if you mean that it is only the Holy Spirit that draws people. But that would also mean that evangelism does not make Christians. The truth is that the Holy Spirit uses all sorts of means, including apologetics to bring people to Christ.