As Catholics, we are all called to share the truth and beauty of our faith with the world. But many of us don’t even know the best way to go about sharing the Gospel with the people around us. How can we share the Good News in a way that people will listen?
Marcel LeJeune, Founder and President of Catholic Missionary Disciples, has spent years working in evangelization, and has learned a thing or two from his experiences.
“I think I’ve made every mistake in the book, that you could possibly make evangelizing,” he said. “So when I give out advice on how to evangelize, it’s because I have learned from my mistakes.”
LeJeune stopped by Morning Air® recently to share some strategies that he has learned for sharing the Gospel more effectively.
Figure Out How They See the World
Every single person on this planet has a worldview. That is, the way that they see the world. It’s the customs, the traditions, it’s the unwritten rules of the way we live our life. Individuals carry a worldview, how we think about the world. What is the purpose and meaning of the world? What is going on there and what do I believe?
To try to figure out where someone is coming from, we really need to figure out their worldview. Because otherwise, we don’t even know how to evangelize them effectively. And I gotta tell you, figuring out people’s worldview has really transformed my understanding of how to evangelize somebody well.
I think the only way to really figure out somebody’s worldview is to get to know them well. Spend time asking them questions, in particular. It really takes a time for you or I to stop and say, ‘Who is this person in front of me?’
Never Accept a Label in Place of a Story
Whenever somebody tells you that they identify by a label, whatever that label might be, what does that mean? Let’s say I tell somebody I’m Catholic. Well, what does that mean? That can mean anything from I was baptized as a baby, I have never mortally sinned, I have always gone to church, I’m a faithful missionary disciple, I evangelize on a daily basis, I’m prayerful for an hour a day, and now I live in a religious order. That’s St. Therese of Lisieux. So that can mean Catholic to somebody.
Or it can mean my grandparents went to church, I don’t go to church except for weddings and funerals, but our family still identifies itself by this cultural label. That can mean Catholic to somebody too, and it could mean anything in between.
So why do we not accept that? Because we don’t know what that person means by that label. So we have to hear their story to understand where they are really coming from.
Focus on Relationship, Not the Quick Response
We need to slow ourselves down sometimes – not provide the upfront answer as quickly and really build relationship with somebody. Because the relationship is where people really long for an understanding of what makes you tick.
And what I mean by that is if I really invest myself into the life of another person, if I’m really getting to know them, if I’m being a friend to the other person, then that real, in-depth, long-term relationship can be built. And then from that somebody is going to build trust. And when trust is built, that means somebody is going to give me the opportunity to listen to me as well. And that’s the best context in which to evangelize.
I think a lot of people want to have the quick answer. And if you meet someone for the first time, they find out your Catholic, and you have the opportunity to evangelize, that’s probably the best thing to do – give them the quick answer and move on. But in a lot of places, you’re just going to have to build relationship and get to know them so that you are understanding their worldview, asking questions, and all that.
LeJeune also pointed out that our focus should not just be on how the Holy Spirit is working in the life of our family and friends, but how He is working in our lives as we evangelize.
“God doesn’t want to just use you. God wants to build you up as well,” he said. “So all these opportunities aren’t just about the other person, they are about every actor within the frame. So everybody who is a participant is going to be gifted by the Holy Spirit if we have the eyes to see Him working.”
Listen to the full conversation below: