If you read the Book of Acts or any other account of the early Church, what do you find? Men and women filled with the Spirit who couldn’t resist the holy urge to speak of Jesus to everyone they met.
For them, Christianity wasn’t simply a “me-and-my-Jesus” sort of deal. They knew that the Good News of salvation through Christ must be shared with all. Many early Christians even chose to die a martyr’s death rather than keep the Gospel to themselves.
Today, parishes are lucky if a few people are baptized during the Easter Vigil, when the Church traditionally brings in new members. What a contrast to the sometimes hundreds of baptisms that would take place at once in earlier centuries!
This begs the question: Are we failing to evangelize those around us? Looking at the numbers coming into the Church, the answer is definitely yes, at least in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
We need to step up our evangelization efforts. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we go out and proclaim the Good News to those around us.
When beginning to evangelize someone, it’s too easy to vilify them and assume they’re not in the Church because they’re full of hate.
That’s not always the case. Some people stay out because of unresolved suffering and pain, and they simply don’t see the Church as the answer.
Start your discussion by listening to their pain points and tailor your message around those.
Focus on the fundamentals of the Gospel message.
Unless the other person brings it up, don’t get into theological intricacies that are likely to confuse them. Also, avoid Church politics as much as you can. Many non-Catholics are turned off by the constant bickering between Traditionalists and Novus Ordo attendees.
Focus on the basics, as the early Christians did. They made Jesus’ resurrection the core of their evangelization efforts.
Above all, pray!
Even if you’re an eloquent speaker who can refute every objection a non-Catholic brings up, it’s all futile if God’s grace isn’t at work. God is the one who converts hearts. We merely plant the seeds.
Pray for each person you evangelize and offer up sacrifices for them.
There’s no denying that the Church is in crisis. We need to reclaim that original zeal of the early Church. If we don’t, we’ll continue to see Mass attendance dwindle and churches close.
We can’t afford that, so let’s get to work!