“Evangelisation is not, in the first place, the delivery of doctrine;
but rather, making present and announcing Jesus Christ.”
– Directory for Catechesis, 29
If an evangelist does not have a relationship with Christ, what then does he have to offer? Only Christ can change lives, through the power of His death and resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If we are not pointing to Christ as Saviour, we are simply pointing to ourselves, and we can’t save anyone!
In addition, we sometimes confuse the problem of people not caring, with the problem of them not knowing… and try to inform them ‘into the faith’ before they have had the chance to meet Christ. Knowledge is of course important, but at some point that knowledge has to move from the head to a heart to heart relationship. Pope Francis points out that Christ did not first call His disciples to know Him, but rather to follow Him! The mark of a disciple is the willingness to deny one’s self, to take up one’s cross and to follow Christ (see Matthew 16:24).
Our Life as the Gospel
Our individual witness is a vital way that others will become aware of who Christ is and hopefully encounter Him. Some ideas for how you can share your faith personally can be found below.
It is important to think strategically about how your parish can call people – both inside and outside the Church – into a living relationship with Christ. You may not necessarily have to do anything new, but rather use your existing ministries to make that invitation to a first, or deeper, commitment of faith.
However, if you don’t do anything explicit in evangelisation as a parish, you could try the following courses such as Sycamore or Alpha. Contact me for further information, training or to learn from a parish which is already running one of these courses.
Alpha is documentary-style video course on the basics of Christianity. Parishes can use this for evangelisation, enquirers, or to deepen the faith of parishioners.
Sycamore is a flexible introduction to the Catholic faith. Its videos resources can be used to support preparation for different Sacraments, or as a basis for parish discussion groups.