How Can I Evangelise?
“Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life for you;
and now He is living by your side every day
to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”
– Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium
Jesus is alive! Each day we are called to respond to the living God who has good news for you! But what is the Good News? Pope Francis summarises this in the quotation above from Evangelii gaudium.
The life, teachings, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are recorded within the pages of the four Gospels, where we also read of the encounters people had with Jesus: the rich and powerful, the poor and weak, the broken and the lost. In each case, the lives of those who encountered Him were never the same. Most importantly, Jesus Christ wants to encounter you, today!
Yet, Christ is not shy in telling us the cost for those who would respond to His invitation… “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24)
Let us pray to the Spirit…
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Holy Will.
St. Paul also instructs the early Christian Church to continue being filled with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18). When we encounter Jesus, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within a person, especially through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we become adopted sons and daughters of God our Father.
You Have a Mission
Christians across the centuries have discovered the great treasure of a relationship with God. A relationship which is not only worth the ‘loss’ of everything else for it, but in fact puts everything into proper perspective. Birmingham’s St John Henry Newman knew that God had a purpose for his life, which he expressed in his famous prayer. You, too, have a special ‘job’ which God has called only you to do! This is your mission. To help us in our mission, God gives Himself to us in the Holy Spirit – who is not just our power and strength, but our friend and guide.
The only way to receive the Holy Spirit is to ask – in fact the Church is born out of the prayer ‘Come Holy Spirit’ (see Acts 1:4), which we hear recounted in the first Pentecost.
I've Heard God's Call; How Should I Respond?
God loves us, but we cannot earn God’s friendship – it is His gift to us. The Bible speaks of this gift as Salvation (see John 3:16-18), a word which comes from the Latin, to ‘heal’. We cooperate with this salvation by receiving it with gratitude, and by confessing to Him those things which damage our relationship with Him and others. We call this Sin (or selfishness) and it is opposed to Love, which is the very nature of God. Jesus said, “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35) and, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind [and] you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt 22:37-39)
Every person is called to be holy (to love God first and foremost), whether they are clergy, religious or lay people. That is still true if you’ve heard God’s call for the first time, and we must continue to keep our ears and heart open to God’s voice, by choosing to follow Christ anew each day.
We must particularly make sure that we ‘plug’ our lives into the life of God, through prayer – both individually and as the Body of Christ, the Church. Holy Mass is the most important act of worship that we offer to God – it makes present the sacrifice of Jesus, on the Cross, for our salvation. But we are also called to pray and worship God personally at other times - in fact unceasingly! (see Ephesians 6:18)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”
As well as sons and daughters, God makes us His disciples and ambassadors (see 2 Corinthians 5:20) which involves taking the Good News we’ve received to others. And we don’t need to look far in order to do this. Our mission may not yet be clear to us, but it always starts from where we are, from where Jesus encountered us.
We can evangelise – share the Good News – anywhere and with anyone. To evangelise, Pope St. Paul VI wrote, is the reason why the Church exists (see Evangelii nuntiandi 14). Evangelising “means to bring the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new” (EN 18)
We don’t – and shouldn’t – do this alone. We need the support of the Body of Christ – the Church. We receive this help in different ways, ranging from support from our local parish or the diocese, to using the many excellent resources which are now available at our fingertips on the internet.
How can I evangelise?
Here follow some ideas and suggestions for how you can start to bring the presence of Christ to those who need to experience it in your parish, your family, your school and your friendship and community groups.
The power behind all missionary activity is prayer. Download the attached sheet to help you prayerfully prepare to share your faith with others and to ask God to help you grow in love. There is also a sheet which can help you write a testimony to share with the people you will witness to. Or you can listen to stories of how people share their faith in everyday conversation, on The Encounters Podcast, which we highly recommend.
The Encounters Podcast
"How can I share my faith in casual conversation? How do I evangelize one-on-one? What does it look like to share the Gospel with someone? In each episode of The Encounters Podcast, you will hear a guest sharing how they invited someone into an encounter with Jesus." Click image.
How do we evangelise as a parish?
The Evangelisation pages here on the Vocations website contain ideas, resources and links that a parish can use to begin to become a missionary parish.
It is also important that you gather with others who share your desire to evangelise, so that you can pray together, plan together and work together. Speak to your parish priest, so that you have the support of the parish community, and the power and strength of the Sacraments – such as Confession and the Eucharist – for this God-given task.
If you'd like further support, do not hesitate to contact Paul Northam, Diocesan Advisor for Evangelisation & Discipleship.