APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM – The Body Language of an Evangelist


An evangelist’s body language will sometimes say what he thinks, even though his mouth may say something different. Thus, believers must pay attention to the listener’s body language as well as what they say. As far as one’s body language, use it to enhance the message. Without even knowing it, one’s face makes many expressions, of which we may or may not be aware.

The seven universal primary emotions have unique characteristics. Each expression can be recognized from the others.



Eyes: They become bigger and rounder. The person raises the upper eyelids, as in the expression of surprise, but the eyebrows remain close and may even touch. Mouth: The person’s lips stretch horizontally. Their lips could be opened or closed. Body:  Body temperature declines while the heart rate rises. Attitude: A person who feels fear will tend to flee, or at least stop what they are doing.


Eyes: The person’s eyelids tighten and wrinkles appear in the corners of the eyes, also known as crow’s feet. The person’s eyebrows draw down. Mouth: People recognize joy in the smile.  The mouth can be open or closed. The person’s cheeks rise.


Eyes: They appear wide open and become rounded. The eyelids and eyebrows rise. Mouth: It appears opened, sometimes gaping. The expression of surprise develops very fast. It could be a micro-expression or a normal expression.


Nose: Wrinkles appear on and around the nose. Mouth: The upper lip rises and the lower lip can be off-axis. The teeth can be visible, but not always.


Eyes: The eyes show an intense look, with or without white under the eyes. The upper and lower eyelids appear tight. The person’s eyebrows appear low and can bind together. Mouth: The person presses their jaws and lips. The lower lip may be somewhat bigger when they appear pressed. The mouth is narrow. Body: Body temperature and heart rate rises.


Eyes: They seem empty.  It is also possible to observe a contraction of the pupils. The eyelids droop. The eyebrows descend to the inside corners. They can even bind in the case of an extremely strong sadness. Mouth: The corners of the person’s lips face down. The lower lip could be transformed into a pout. Body: The body temperature rises. The heart races faster than in the expression of disgust.


Mouth: Half of the person’s upper lip tightens up. To make this half-smile of contempt, one uses the risorius muscle. While humans share many physiological characteristics with primates, this small, flat muscle is not one of them. It is located in the cheek, next to the lips. Head: It is often slightly tilted back. Contempt is often accompanied by a sense of superiority[1]


What are the seven most common facial expressions?

Gestures and facial expressions act like punctuation in writing; they can give the other person an insight into how the person they speak to really feels as they serve as visual and emotional emphasis to what someone says. Some cultures seem more stoic than others while people of some ethnicities have more gestures and facial expressions.

Matthew 12:48-49 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Behold my mother and my brothers!

Acts 12:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

Acts 13:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.

Yes, the Bible’s writers even saw fit to include gestures of what they saw in the events of the day.

If a person sat through an entire conversation with an evangelist and exhibited no gestures or facial expressions, one might think that the listener did not care or seemed uninterested toward the evangelist’s message. It is almost impossible to go without gestures and facial expressions, as they appear as a natural part of who we are. Gestures and facial expressions also emerge while talking on the phone with someone, knowing they cannot see what happens on the other end. What we do know is that gestures and facial expressions must be used effectively to move along the message during evangelism. They will animate the evangelist and their message.

However, do not make the mistake of trying to imitate the facial expressions, such as the ones above as this must be the natural you. One cannot study how to be themselves. One’s gestures are a reflection of emotions, the inner person; therefore, gestures and facial expressions must be more unprompted or unplanned.


Why is it important to pay attention to facial expressions and body language?

Reasoning From The Scriptures: Using several Scriptures, effectively communicate why _________ is not biblical or is biblical. The director or assistant direct will assign a subject.[2]

Using Gestures While Witnessing

In order to make something that one does naturally in some setting, be part of another setting and consciously do something new until it has become such a natural part of who you are. When someone starts this, he or she will be conscious of trying to add new features to the presentation of the Scriptures, but soon enough, it will come naturally. One small warning that applies to almost anything in life: even too much of a good thing can be bad. Therefore, do not go overkill in trying to add life to presenting the Good News.


Smiling can be infectious and lightens the mood. When one meets new people as one share biblical truths, do not forget to smile. This lets people know that you are sincere about your message, and you feel comfortable with them.

Eye Contact

APOLOGETICSEye contact rises as one of the most important gestures. When someone does not look a person in the face, it comes off as mischievous, distrustful, as though the person may not be sincere. Of course, one does not want to stare, just an occasional glance up with the appropriate facial expression, such as concern, sadness, joy, surprise, or what seems dictated by the conversation. One wants the other person to see warmth, and that there seems to be harmony with the message the person has. When someone opens their Bible to share a text, hold it in front of their eyes so that as the evangelist reads, one can see the face of the unbeliever.

Moreover, making eye contact can give the evangelist the opportunity to take note the impact the message has. This enables the believer to alter their approach, such as moving from sharing a thought, to asking some open-ended question, to get them more involved. If one notices the person looks annoyed, angry, impatient, or bored, this would signal the need to wrap things up. Do not leave them in a provoked state, so if you talk with them again, they will remember the respect given to their time previously.

Hand Gestures

One’s hands give direction, with even shaking hands considered a hand gesture. In addition, smiling and waving as one walks up to someone lets him or her know the person has a friendly mission. When reading a Scripture, hold the Bible in the line of their eyesight and follow with a finger. Another approach might be pointing, such as referring to the universe and God’s creation. In the end, whether one uses gestures or facial expressions, use them to bring glory to God’s Word, be natural and friendly, showing interest in others.


What are some gestures that a believer can use in the work of evangelism?

Reasoning From The Scriptures: Using several Scriptures, effectively communicate why _________ is not biblical or is biblical. The director or assistant direct will assign a subject.[3]

[1] http://www.non-verbal.info/2012/01/emotions-7-universal-primary-emotions.html

[2] The Evangelism Program Director or Assistant Director will select the topic.

[3] The Evangelism Program Director or Assistant Director will select the topic.






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