Recently I've heard (or heard about) a few talks given by Christians trying to address questions or problems of non-believers. I want to say right from the start that I respect their effort very much indeed and I know those kind of talks can do a lot of good. They inevitably come up against a lot of criticism, some of which is very uninformed, and I think they are very brave, especially those who make an effort in an environment like my university, which seems to be just getting more and more anti-Christian.
I would like to respectfully suggest, however, a few things (for any of these speakers who may happen to read this blog which is unlikely):
For someone like myself, who has been trained to some extent in academic ways of thinking, I don't find these talks very helpful. Although I'm already on your side and agree in the end with the basis of what you're trying to say, it always seems to me like you're repeating arguments that have been used again and again ... and again. I'm not sure how many times now I've heard the analogy of the tornado causing a Boeing 747 to come together to discredit the "chance" theory of evolution, but it's a lot; likewise, asking me if I knew that only a few metres difference to the circumference of the Earth would make the planet unhabitable (or something like that) has been asked so very often that it loses its power as an example. It comes across quite clearly that these talks are standardized, and that Christians are encouraged to take these examples and repeat them - which seems a bit like spoonfeeding to me. Also, someone like myself doesn't just hear an argument like that and accept it as fact. I want to know where the footnotes are.
I really think the only way to approach debates like these is to focus on specific arguments. A recent series of talks at my university has been, ostensibly, on Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. However, according to at least one non-Christian observer, they really weren't so much about Dawkins' argument, focusing instead on the sort of argument given above. In my opinion, especially in a talk given to a university audience, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking Dawkins' thesis and refuting it, point by point. This may be more "intellectual" or "highbrow" but Dawkins did not write to a lowbrow audience, and his argument must be responded to from the same footing as he is on. Dumbing it down is not going to help our case.
It is also a very smart move to anticipate the objections of people to your talk. For example, in this particular series, apparently the speaker said that it's illogical to presume that life can come from no life. Yes. It is. However, the immediate reaction of the non-Christian observers in our university's magazine was to say, well, then: where did God come from? As far as they said, anyway, the speaker offered no explanation for this question which naturally follows his assertion.
Also, I'm not convinced that following the Creator argument is the best way to go. I think any defence of Christianity must begin with a defence of the Bible. Everything else is just unproven assertions, unless you can convincingly defend the Bible's historical accuracy and internal consistency (which I think can be done plausibly and compellingly). This is what seems to bother thinking non-Christians the most about Christianity, at least in my world. Yes, the world is an amazing place, yes, Jesus is an attractive figure who cannot be delegated away as just a prophet or a nice man - but can we believe what he has to say? This is crucial, and ignoring the historical evidence for Christianity just leaves you open to criticism. I really don't think non-Christians have a very good case at all for attacking the Bible's accuracy and consistency, but if we don't prove this, they will raise objections which sound plausible to those who know nothing about how the Bible was written.
Even if you disagree, and think that the Creator argument is the most important here, I really think we Christians need to be creative in our arguments. We need to show thinking people that we haven't simply swallowed what our preacher, or authors such as C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Tim Keller or Lee Strobel, have to say. (Although I find their books very helpful, simply quoting them is not enough.) We need to show that we can think for ourselves, and still find the gospel convincing.
Just a few ideas.