Catholic Evangelization: 6 Clear-Cut Strategies That Really Work

Friday, February 11, 2022 - 1:35pm

Catholic Evangelization: 6 Clear-Cut Strategies That Really Work

 
 
Do you want to spread the Gospel more effectively?  These 6 easy strategies will help you organize your efforts so you can cast out into the deep!

 

When I was growing up, I remember being taught in Catholic school that we should shy away from discussing religion. The very idea of evangelization was discouraged and equated with proselytizing.
 

Of course, this is the opposite of what the Gospel says we should be doing, and it is a neglect of our duty as Catholics.
 

One of Jesus’s most explicit commands to us was His Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20.
 

“And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Douay Rheims)

                                                                                                          

Jesus is telling us that it is our Christian duty to spread the Gospel and to cast our nets into the deep.  We typically call this evangelization.

 

Evangelization is simply understood as sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others so that they make the decision to follow Him, become His disciple, and join His Holy Catholic Church.

 

This is not a simple task and if you take up this sacred duty, in most cases, you will never know if you are having an impact.  Many people get discouraged, but you cannot lose heart because actively engaging in evangelization always has a positive impact; you just may not see it in this life.

 

Most Important Rule

 

The most important thing that you need to know in regard to evangelizing others is that you cannot give what you do not have.

 

If you do not know Jesus, pray daily, and live virtuously, then you cannot spread the Gospel effectively.

 

This does not mean you have to be perfect, but who will take you seriously if you are telling people to convert and follow Jesus Christ while getting drunk at parties, gossiping, stealing, not practicing chastity, etc.?
 

Related: Catholic Confession: A Short but Thorough Guide

 

Also, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then who are you leading people to follow? Jesus is not an idea; He is a person we can have a relationship with and who will change our lives for the better. 

 

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 1 – Pray

 

It’s important to realize that bringing others to Christ is not about you.  It is about fostering a relationship.  In this regard, you are not the one who converts anyone.  You are simply dropping seeds along a person’s journey through life in hopes that it will blossom and bear fruit. 

 

You can water these seeds with prayer and fasting, but it can only take root if the person is willing to cooperate with God’s grace, whether they know what grace is or not.

 

One of the most famous conversion stories of all time is the story of St. Augustine and St. Monica.

 

St. Augustine was a partier, rolled with a gang, had a mistress, and a child out of wedlock.  He was brilliant but very worldly.

 

St. Monica, his mother, was an ardent Catholic and follower of Christ and she tried to convince St. Augustine to join the Church. He was so prideful and intelligent that he brushed off her attempts with ease, utterly unpersuaded of the need to embrace Christ and His Church.    

 

Little did either of them know that the seeds were sown, taking water, but very slowly germinating.

 

St. Monica prayed and wept and prayed and wept for years.  Yet St. Augustine made no movement towards Christ but converted to Manicheism instead.

 

While teaching in Milan, St. Augustine was prompted to listen to and meet St. Ambrose, the brilliant bishop of Milan.  After listening to St. Ambrose, St. Augustine’s eyes were opened and he eventually made his way into the Catholic Church.

 

St. Monica was overjoyed and St. Augustine became one of the greatest intellectual minds the Catholic Church has ever produced.

 

There are two major takeaways from this story.

 

  1. St. Monica never lost hope and her prayer is what had the biggest impact on St. Augustine
  2. St. Monica dropped seeds; St. Ambrose dropped more seeds, but neither one of them “converted” St. Augustine.  They just lived their lives praying, speaking, and living the Gospel and God put the right people in the right place, at the right time.

 

Related: The Essential Beginner's Guide to Catholic Meditation

 

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 2 – Ask Questions and Listen

 

Everyone wants to be heard and questions related to life and meaning cut to the core of most of us.  We all have a strong desire to discuss topics of depth, but it can be hard to find congenial and thoughtful people to have those discussion with.

 

You can be that person for someone, but it is not easy.  It requires keeping your comments to yourself, asking questions, and doing a lot of listening.  It requires you being a good friend to someone and the ability to not constantly correct people. 

 

It’s hard when you hear someone say something wrong and not say something.  But you need to listen and not respond when using this long game strategy.

 

Here is an example of how a conversation could go.

 

You: What do you think happens when we die?

Friend: I think we become one with nature and the universe.

You: What makes you think that?

Friend: I feel most at peace in nature and I think my energy will be absorbed into it.

You: Where do you think the energy in the universe comes from?

Friend: I think it has always been there.

You: Do you think the universe has always existed?

Friend: I’m not sure.

You: I find this all Interesting

 

Do this as long as you like.  It can be very interesting to hear how people think about the world and the universe from a non-Christian worldview, however wrong they are.  By not correcting the person and simply listening to them, you are doing two important things: 

 

  1. You are building trust. (You are not correcting or condemning them.)
  2. You are affirming them and letting them know that what they think is important to you. 

 

Maybe in 3 weeks, ask another series of in-depth questions in the same way.

 

After doing this a few times, talk about what is important to you, but not to correct them, just to share.  Then try Strategy 3.

 

Free Download: Guide to Writing Your Personal Testimony

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 3 – The Great Invitation

 

After you build trust and a closer friendship with the person you care about, you should invite them to a Catholic event.  The obvious one is Holy Mass.  Just make sure it’s not the Mass of the Bishop’s Lenten appeal!

 

Take them to the most reverent and beautiful Mass you can find.

 

If there is one nearby, the High Traditional Latin Mass is particularly intriguing to non-Catholics and lapsed-Catholics alike.  Any reverent Catholic Mass will do though.

 

Another thing you can do is invite them to vespers, Holy Hour, a recollection, lecture series, or even a family Catholic feast night.  We invited a friend to participate in the Epiphany House Blessing with us and they loved the ritual.

 

Do something that is very Catholic and don’t be afraid to be yourself!  Our faith is awesome and attractive.

 

Related: Reverent Catholic Mass Map

 

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 4 – Live the Faith Joyfully

 

Have you ever met someone who is so filled with joy you walk away wondering, “Where does all that joy come from for that person?”  I have.  It’s electrifying. Those people are the salt of the earth who make our mouths water for the truth and love that only Jesus Christ can give. 

 

It looks different for everyone, but you can have that joy someday too.

 

The easiest way to get it is to pray daily, work on rooting sin out of your life, and be thankful. 

 

The most joy filled people are those who are the most grateful for everything that they have been given by God. When you are grateful, you complain less, and think of God and others more.

 

Those who are joyful feel blessed because they are blessed and they recognize that God has given them an incredible gift. They work on responding to God’s grace to make changes in their lives so that they become freer from sin and worldly attachments, which makes them even more joy filled. 

 

Prayer + Freedom from Sin + Thankfulness = Joy

Free Download: Guide to Writing Your Personal Testimony

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 5 – Share Your Personal Testimony

 

You need to be able to answer this question: “Why are you a Catholic?”

 

The answer should have something to do with Jesus Christ and your personal relationship with Him and how He impacted your life positively.

 

People cannot relate to how you may have discovered the logical law of non-contradiction which proved your relativistic tendencies wrong.

 

It is also not attractive to most people to hear how you may have read the Summa Theolgica and it was revealed to you that philosophically understanding substance and act was crucial for your journey.

 

Humans do not relate to ideas; we relate to people.  We connect with people.  Evangelization is about introducing others to the person of Jesus Christ whom you have a relationship with and who changed your life.

 

Your story of why you are Catholic should be to the point and go something like this:

 

I was living a life of partying and immorality with friends who did not seem to really care about me.  One day, I walked into a Catholic Church for the first time in years and felt the presence of Jesus Christ in the tabernacle and could not shake the feeling.  I got this urge one-day to pray to God to help me know who He is.  The next day I felt compelled to get in my car and drive across the country and every minute I could, I was reading the Gospels.  Jesus spoke to me through the scripture and I knew I had to radically change my life.  The minute I made the decision to change, my life drastically improved and Jesus has been taking care of me ever since on my journey through life. It took almost a decade to root out some sins, but I am so thankful that I completely gave my life over to Him and my life keeps getting better and better even when I’m suffering.

Free Download: Guide to Writing Your Personal Testimony

Catholic Evangelization Strategy 6 – Know the Faith

 

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy everyone that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” (Douay Rheims)

 

You must become familiar with the Faith and the easiest way is to read the Gospels. St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

 

You cannot possibly know everything about Catholicism, but you need to have a good basic understanding of the typical questions that get asked to Catholics so you can field them or at least know where to look for the answers.

 

Some good free resources can be found here.

 

Related: The Best Free Resources for Becoming Catholic and Knowing the Faith!

 

Free Printable Guide to Writing Your Personal Testimony!

 

I really hope this helps and remember to be patient and keep praying!

 

Pax,

 

Tony

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