015: Tell the Good News! Five Approaches for Catholics
Many Catholics—both those in religious life and the laity—have a desire to evangelize.
They take it to heart the words of Pope Paul VI, that the Church exists to evangelize.
The problem is that most Catholics—myself included—are quite fearful of stepping outside our comfort zones, ruffling feathers, and making proclamations about the dangers of hell and the joys of discipleship. It’s even trickier as a Catholic, because while many religious denominations have a discipleship by way of “Just pray this prayer”, a Catholic approach involves readying for the Sacraments—especially those of reconciliation and Eucharist—in addition to openness to a lifelong vocation that God may have for the penitent.
I have crafted a document that lists twenty ways Catholics evangelize today. In doing so, I have thought long and hard of all the ways that Catholics have evangelized, especially in the last thirty years. I’ve added an example, the pros and cons, and personal thoughts about such an approach (which you are free to disagree with).
To get a copy of this document, sign up for it on this page.
In the meantime, here are five choice ways Catholics Evangelize Today:
5: “If Necessary, Use Words”
This most likely needs no introduction. It seems to be the base approach for most Catholic evangelists. For one thing, it’s a vivid reminder that our actions speak louder than words. On the other hand, there is no evidence St. Francis said such words.
This is often used by many Catholics as an excuse to not evangelize, and feel like they are.
Words are necessary most of the time. Act with love, absolutely. But do so with the mindset that we are to find actual avenues to share the faith with others that are much more substantive.
4: Invite Someone to Mass
A person who has spent considerable time in conversation, is ready to attend a Catholic Mass with you. Liturgies are easy to attend, and they are the summit of one’s worship experience. However, being the summit of worship is not easily understood by newbies. Sometimes the music can be sub-par, or the homilies are rote, or the prayers are too confusing. Furthermore, it may be likely that such a newbie may have to refrain from receiving Communion, which is a hard thing to disinvite one from. This isn’t to deter one from trying this approach, just know that these are the roadblocks one needs to recognize in advance before pursuing this.
If the person understands the Catholic teaching of Eucharist, they may be able to experience a new type of worship experience.
3: Social Media Evangelism
The goal of Social Media Evangelism is to use the elements of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., to post memes (evangelistic pictures) to share the Gospel message. Unfortunately, much of this involves some sharing gaudy religious pictures and pithy quotes, all with varying levels of effectiveness.
Using this approach can be fun. Unfortunately, much of it has devolved into simplistic declarations that convince nobody.
It’s also devolved into political tribes. To be effective, that which is shared must be substantive, engaging, and effective.
A podcast is a downloadable radio show that people can listen to at any time through their MP3 devices. (i.e. Fr. Roderick’s Podcasts on sqpn).
There are many great benefits to podcasting. It allows one to be as personal as one can be. It also allows one to be as detailed as one can be. And once podcast is created, it can stay online for as long as you want.
Podcasts are great for driving, exercising and doing mundane tasks. The only drawback is that it can be a little complicated to set up. It takes a little work to get the word out. In my personal opinion, this is the best approach for today. That said, there is a course one can use to get up and going (http://www.podcastingatoz.com), and one session is starting soon. (When you do sign up, use the coupon code “ALEXANDER” to get a discount).
1: Relationship Evangelism
Relationship Evangelism is the art of learning how to share your faith with people you know through the workplace, your school, and family relationships. It involves mastering conversations with those at work, school, and family.
This puts you in a position where you are forced to truly live a credible life. Your actions will speak louder than words, but the words will be ready to have an answer as to why the hope within you. This requires patience.
It does not usually afford opportunities to discuss a fullness of the Gospel, but usually snippets. Plus, if done wrong, it can cause distress in relationships with those you still must encounter on a regular basis.
People need to learn the art of looking for avenues to tend to another’s needs, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. One would also learn the art of apologetics, to defend the faith, but to do so charitably and without rancor.
I find it best to use Relationship Evangelism, which, of all the approaches, I consider to be the most important. It builds on friendships, builds trust, allows for a careful back and forth on views, and being Christ for another. It takes those positive attributes of the “Use Words if Necessary” approach (Actions being better than words), but then… adds words. Such an individual prays for natural opportunities to share the faith, but not in a way that is intrusive nor manipulative. The fruits of such can be longest lasting.
That said, of all the options on this list, the one I’m most excited about is Podcasting. This is a great venue for a person to share their heart in a manner that allows others to see who they are, and talk at length about any subject matter he/she chooses. They are not dependent upon others to bring up those specific subjects that energizes their faith. ; it is like getting your own radio show, but with the added beneit of no time limitations, extended reach, and no sasking for money.
But while podcasting is great, its most significant drawback is that it can be a little bit complicated to set up. Yet even this is surmountable, through a helpful and experienced guide (i.e. Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcasting A To Z (http://www.podcastingatoz.com) [and be sure to use ALEXANDER for the coupon code to get $500 off]).
Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for an additional document?
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the Subject “Top 20 Ways Addition”.