Monday, August 8, 2011

10 Little Things Every Catholic Can Do to Be a Good Evangelist


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As Baptized Christians, we are called to spread the good news of Jesus and to convey the teachings of God. It says in Matthew 28 that we should "make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." How are you doing that in your life?

If you've just come back home to the Catholic Church or are a recent convert, you might be scared to share the faith, especially if friends and family are hostile to your conversion. People may challenge you on the truth of the faith and you don't know how to answer them.

Some of them don't even want answers, they just want to challenge you. Their ears aren't open. I wouldn't worry too much about discussing religion with them. As it says in Sirach 8: 3 "Do not argue with a chatterer, nor heap wood on his fire."

What to answer those whose ears are open depends on what they are really asking. An atheist is looking for something different than a Protestant. An atheist can't or won't see the truth of God's existence, while the Protestant doesn't see the Catholic Church and her teachings as legitimate.

No matter with whom you're talking, remember one thing- there are good answers to why we believe what we believe even if you don't know it off the top of your head. No one expects you to be a cracker jack Catholic apologist right out of the box.

10 Little Things Every Catholic Can Do to Be a Good Evangelist
1 BUMPER STICKERS- You don't have to say a word, but a good bumper sticker can inform and move the emotions. Just the other day a woman at the gas station thanked me for my Catholic radio bumper sticker because she hadn't known about the station and was thrilled to discover it. I also have pro-life bumper stickers. Check out Catholic to the Max for bumper stickers.
2 CATHOLIC RADIO- Listen to it in the car, while cooking, exercising... You'll learn tons and it focuses your mind on good things. If you don't have a local station, listen on the internet or download podcasted episodes of Catholic Answers onto your iPod.
3 THE NEW MEDIA- Use it! Blog, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are all places to spread the message of Jesus.
Soapbox

4 SPECIALIZE YOUR SOAPBOX-  You cannot fight every battle. You may need to focus on a single issue or two when it comes to certain people... at least at first. Have any extreme liberal friends? You'll have to pick which issue to fight for instead of swinging your metaphorical sword wildly. I usually choose the pro-life issue. Bringing a fallen away Catholic home to the Church? Maybe focus on the real presence in the Eucharist. But if a question comes up that you can't answer, don't sweat it. Tell the person you'll find out and get back to them. Then make sure you do! Catholic.com and John Martignoni's Bible Christian Society are great web resources.
5 THE FATHERS KNOW BEST- Buy this must have book by Jimmy Akin. It gives the teachings of the first Christians. Filled with quotes, it's organized into topics such as divorce, homosexuality, etc. Available in paperback and Kindle.
6 LEAD by EXAMPLE- This is both the easiest and the most difficult one, depending on the day. You know the song, "They'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love..." Make an effort each day to live by that. When people know you're Catholic and you live in a loving and happy way, you're a witness to the power and love of Christ. But we all have bad days and we all stumble. Forgive yourself, go to regular confession, and start anew.
7 SPEAK UP FOR CHRIST- Don't be ashamed to be a Catholic Christian. If somebody makes mean remarks about those you love- your spouse, your best friend, or especially your Lord and Savior, you can and should say something. The Church is the bride of Christ. Stand up for her too. Focus on Christ on the cross and what He did for you so you can bear whatever comes your way.
8 INVITE SOMEONE TO MASS- Need I explain this one? Or if not to Mass, to other things at your parish such as Stations of the Cross, adoration, or even a parish festival. It's a start! :)


9 WEAR YOUR LORD on YOUR SLEEVE- Okay, I'm being cute. What I mean is, wear a Catholic themed shirt or bag. Wear your crucifix and have them in your home. You never know when you'll get a fallen away Catholic to thinking about church again. Maybe carry some pamphlets with you in case somebody has questions about what Catholics believe. As Catholics we don't tend to go door to door spreading the Word, but if somebody asks, it's nice to be prepared. Check out Romantic Catholic for some neat shirts. Take a look at the Catechim Tracts and Faith Tracts at Catholic.com

Available at Romantic Catholic

10 PARTICIPATE, VOLUNTEER & CREATE- I put these together because they deal with setting aside time specifically for evangelizing. You might participate in Mass as a reader or usher. Could you spare time to volunteer at the food bank, crisis pregnancy center (a pro-life one), or catechism teacher? If you're creative, create God-centered art- be it paintings, needlework, music, or stories. If you have kids, be sure you're praying with them and teaching them about Jesus and his Church. Even if they're going to a Catholic school or taking classes at Church, they need it from you too.

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