Two quotes to think about followed by reflection from Alan Kreider:
“We do not preach great things, but we live them.” — Minucius Felix (late 2nd or early 3rd century CE; Roman Christian apologist)
“Why do we not observe that it is their [the Christians’] benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism [unbelief of the pagan gods]?… For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galileans [Christians] support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.” — Julian the Apostate (4th century CE, Roman emperor)
Commenting on Felix’s quote and other material in relation to the growth of early Christianity, Alan Kreider claims (Resident but Alien DVD, Ep 2):
It’s not our worship that attracts people. It’s not our sermons that attract people, but rather it’s embodied faith, embodied in a community and embodied in attractive disciples of Jesus. And the sense of God at work transforming individuals and communities. These are the things that draw people to a growing church.
For more on this topic, see Kreider’s short book, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom (1999/2007), which is reviewed here.