EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
Who needs to be evangelized? Most of all, we need to be evangelized ourselves to strengthen our personal relationship with Christ.
The word “evangelization” often raises negative images for us Catholics. The images of enthusiastic street corner preaching, a style of mass religion, a contrived way to recruit new members to church, may come to mind. Still we Catholics do use the word “evangelization” because at its core it means “Gospel” – the Good News, calling us, “even if it makes us uncomfortable, to live the faith of our baptism more openly and to share it more freely.”
Evangelization , then, has different implications depending on our relationship to Jesus and his Church. For those of us who practice and live our Catholic faith, it is a call to ongoing growth and renewed conversion. For those who have accepted it only in name, it is a call to re-evangelization. For those who have stopped practicing their faith, it is a call to reconciliation. For children, it is a call to be formed into disciples through the family’s faith life and religious education. For other Christians, it is an invitation to know the fullness of our message. For those who have no faith, it is a call to conversion to know Christ Jesus and thus experience a change to new life with Christ and his Church.
– From USCCB’s Go and Make Disciples
EVERYDAY EVANGELIZATION - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
BE INVITATIONAL – Invite a person to come to Mass, to read a book on spirituality, to listen to a talk radio program, to attend a parish event.
It’s all about going out, letting people know we are here and inviting them in.
LISTEN – Listen when a person shares his story.
When we listen, we are open to the person’s heart, mind and soul.
Listen to their search for meaning in life, to their struggles or pain.
There are needs that we can listen for and meet in our parish, workplace, schools and communities.
As disciples we must listen to and advocate for those on the margins.
Everyday be attuned to and responsive for ways you can help those in need in our communities.
SHARE OUR FAITH – Reflect on how the Holy Spirit has worked in your life and then share this with others.
Share your own life experiences – personal struggles, pain and suffering.
Talk about your own experiences of faith.
Use that as a springboard for conversation.
SHARE THE JOY! – Express what you find particularly joyful about your faith in a way that makes sense for you and those you wish to share with.
Are you a talker? Then have a conversation over coffee.
Do you love art or music? Then express yourself through sharing your favorite religious art or listen to music that moves you.
Or are you a doer? Then share in an activity together – serve meals to the needy, volunteer at the food bank, attend a talk together.
TAKE PART – To truly partake in your faith, commit to using your particular gifts and talents in a way that serves the parish.
Consider serving in the ministry of liturgy – lector, eucharistic minister, join the choir.
Do you like to study the faith or teach? Become a catechist, join the RCIA team, or get involved with adult education.
Do you love meeting people? Help make the parish more welcoming – ask a stranger if he would like to join the choir.
Or consider joining the Team for the New Evangelization.
Help find new, creative ways to encourage the faithful to become the evangelists Jesus Christ commanded us to be.
Pray and discern your gifts and talents to guide you as you consider a ministry role.
In the work of evangelization, let the Holy Spirit guide you and use your natural gifts.
Simply be open and willing. There is no one size-fits-all evangelist!
PRAY TOGETHER – Invite others to pray with you.
Prayer can be planned or spontaneous – whatever you are comfortable with.
Thank God for his gifts as you share a meal with others.
Or as you come together for a celebration, thank Him for his blessings.
Ask God for his help in a time of need.
In good times and in bad times, turn to God in prayer and invite family and peers to pray with you.
SHARING THE FAITH IS A JOURNEY – Evangelization is about getting to know people, talking, and entering into dialogue.
Then you build upon this relationship to share your faith.
When Jesus encountered the Samaritan Woman at the well, he first asked for a drink of water, listened as she shared her story, talked to her about her life, and then he engaged her in a conversation about the living water of eternal salvation.
Presented by the St. Apollinaris Team for the New Evangelization