According to a recent poll of practicing Christian millennials, nearly 50% of them believe that evangelizing and spreading their faith is wrong! These people, who profess that they believe in Jesus Christ, His redeeming death and resurrection, and the truth that He speaks, believe that it’s immoral to give that to other people. How does that make sense?
John Morales welcomed Marcel LeJune onto Morning Air to discuss why that might be and what are five ways we can learn to be better evangelists and provide a good example to those around us, whether they’re Christian or not.
Marcel began by addressing the fact that culture has changed so much over the years that secularism and pop culture have subverted religion as the pinnacle of one’s beliefs. So many people don’t hold their religious beliefs as the most important thing in their lives. It’s a component that can often take a back burner, especially when convenient. So if it’s not the most important thing in your life, why would you think to share it with others? If you don’t think it’s the ultimate truth, why would you try to spread it?
Spreading it might result in pushback and at that point, religion becomes a burden and something negative. So, how do we reverse this culture? How do we become better evangelists? Marcel presented five tips to do just that.
- Stop Inviting Non-Catholics (or non-participatory Catholics) to Mass. While it might sound counter-intuitive, it makes a lot of sense. If you invite someone who is not familiar with the faith to a Catholic Church, they’re going to feel out of place and awkward. If the person is more familiar with denominational Christianity or maybe they don’t practice a religion of any kind, entering a Catholic Church is going to give them a culture shock. It’s a very different experience for anyone who isn’t practicing the faith. They won’t know when to stand, sit, kneel, or even the words to any of the prayers. They can’t participate, and plus, it’s not a good place to talk. The better thing is to talk over dinner, coffee, or a beer. Pique their curiosity as to why you’re a Catholic and when they ask, have those important conversations about religion, morals, and our call to holiness.
- Stop treating others as evangelization projects. Marcel’s second tip ties in very closely to his first tip in the sense that the driving factor behind any evangelization should be love and friendship. A lot of door-to-door evangelists will treat the people they talk to like they’re a statistic; like they’re another potential convert to pad their numbers. Marcel offered the story of when he was in college, a pretty girl came to his table and put her lunch tray down next to him. At first, he was excited. Then she said, “Did you know Jesus Christ is your Lord and savior?” At its core, that’s a perfectly viable question, but the context was all wrong. He said that if she had sat down and gotten to know him, become friends with him, and then maybe asked him about his faith down the line, that would’ve been completely different.
- Ask questions of the other person. While it’s tempting to go off on tangents about your faith when given the chance, it’s important that we don’t talk at a person like we’re giving a lecture. Yet again, this is about friendship which is a two-way street. You should as much about that person as you can because every relationship is different. Without knowing somebody, you cannot effectively show them love and care. Learn what they like, they dislike, their strengths, their weaknesses, what makes them laugh, and what makes them sad. If you truly care about this person enough to be concerned for their soul, it will be a joy to spend time learning about them.
- Know the appropriate time and place to evangelize. Everything we do should be to glorify God, but that doesn’t mean we should try to shoehorn spiritual conversations into every waking moment with a person. One of St. Josemaría’s main drives behind starting Opus Dei was to encourage the laity to find God in every activity, every task, every celebration, and every conversation. We don’t have to always be talking about Jesus to incorporate Him into our apostolate. He is present wherever we are showing love to sons and daughters of God.
- Trust in God to do the heavy lifting. At its core, evangelization would be nothing without the Holy Spirit working through each of us in our friendships. Yes, we should constantly be asking for His guidance. Yes, we should use this guidance to go out and try to make disciples. But at the end of the day, we have to put our faith in God that if we do the right thing, His plan will be fulfilled. The heavy lifting is the Holy Spirit working through us to find ways to move the hearts and minds of those around us who are open to it. We are simply instruments for God’s work.
Listen to the full segment below:
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