Importance of Evangelization

importance of evangelization

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The Importance of Evangelization

Podcast 5

In this episode, Father David tackles the importance of Evangelization and how we, as Christians can follow the calling. If the Lord has indeed offered us the challenge, how can we say no? Join Father David weekly as he offers us food for thought.

Show Notes: Importance of Evangelization

In recent years within the Church there has been a clarion call to advance the mission of the Church to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I  am with you always until the end of the age”. (Mt.28: 18-19) Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he (The risen Jesus) commissioned them to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

The basic ways to do evangelization are programmatic evangelization and personal one-on-one relational evangelization, or small group evangelization. It is a matter of learning how to share our faith, whether we do this in opportunities in programs such as Christ-Life or Christ Renews His Parish.  Or in one-on-one situations or in small group fellowships.

Our Baptism calls us to Evangelize

By the very nature of our Baptism, and subsequently through our personal relationship in Jesus through faith, we are called to witness to His Resurrection and share with others the Good News of Salvation in Christ. Evangelization is one of the major responses of the Church to offset the moral degradation, secularization, and dehumanization of the human person present in our world today in addition to proclaiming that the risen Jesus Christ is our personal Lord and Savior.

Most sincere Catholics want to be holy, but they don’t want to talk about it or to share their faith with others. A missionary spirit and zeal for the Gospel can be hard to find among many of us. We certainly try and live a holy life and witness to the resurrection of Jesus by giving a good example (situation of Kateri Tekakwitha). It is possible that not all of us are called to do personal evangelization because we may not have the natural and spiritual gifts to do it, but some are, and to different degrees depending on our situation. However, at least all of us should be willing to be trained to do personal evangelization. It is good to learn how to do faith sharing in any situation., ie. various parish, congregation, small groups or with our children and other relatives.

All the Popes over the last 70 years have encouraged Catholics to share their faith with others in various situations where personal evangelization is appropriate. Pope Francis recently has consistently encouraged Catholics to reach out to others in every possible way. Also, he warned pastoral workers to be careful and avoid “spiritual selfishness” By that he meant that they should not always be putting personal effort into spiritual things with a  self-centered mindset which attitude concentrates it is all about me, my personal holiness. (The Joy of the Gospel) In Evangelii Nunciandi on Evangelization Pope Paul says, we should expect to personally experience in evangelizing or sharing our faith,  a fresh forward impulse capable of creating with those whom we share the undying strength and power of Pentecost, a new period of sharing the Good News in a way that is understandable and inspiring.

When we share our faith or seek to evangelize another person, what is it we should share?

The first thing that we should consider in a prayerful spirit is this: The glorified risen Lord Jesus is already present in me, and in the person, I am going to speak to. This should give me a certain amount of inner peace. Realizing what is going to happen to the person I am sharing my faith or evangelizing depends primarily on the work of the Lord in that person, and the person’s ability to respond. Therefore, we humbly approach the relationship with a discerning spirit seeking inner light for guidance and direction.

So what is the content which we are going to share? I am going to share what I personally understand and believe about the inner experience of my personal faith in the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t mean that I have all my Catholic doctrine at my fingertips, but should know where the books are that I can refer them to. We should be able to share our personal experience of the risen Christ, and how he is present and active in my personal life. It is also important to experience what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. St. Anthony says in his writings that every Christian should ultimately end up fulfilling in their lives the full experience of Pentecost. When Peter was asked by those witnessing the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, what should we do brothers to receive this experience? He responded, ”Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So I am going to share with another person that my personal experience of faith is the reality of my personal relationship with Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That Jesus has given me a personal understanding of God as my Father, and a rich and full life in the Holy Spirit. I know that God loves me, and I am his beloved son or daughter; he has revealed his mercy and goodness in my personal life. I know that I am a sinner and realize it more and more every day. As a result, with his help, I have changed my life through life-giving repentance, forgiveness, and an experience of a new life with the Lord and the Holy Spirit. This gift has led me to a rich and new life of faith and love. My life is not always easy but with this experience of a new faith, I see new growth in my life each day. In other words, I am really different than I used to be, and the peace and joy of the Lord is permanently in my life. I have been truly empowered by the merciful gift of the Holy Spirit.

importance of evangelizationThe Acts of the Apostles could be called the model for evangelization.

There are so many scriptural accounts in the first part of the Acts of the Apostles, which proclaim and identify the significant features, and principles of Spirit-filled evangelization. These stories and events portray God’s purposes of salvation and nothing stands in the way. Of the four marks of the Church, the last one being Apostolic, we see the clear operation of the power of the “Apostolic Charism” in miraculous operation. We see an enlightened work of the Holy Spirit about an experience of the Lord Jesus and his saving power, which results in many people coming to a new faith. New Christians repeating in various ways that God became man in the person of Jesus that we might receive Salvation. That Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection has reconciled us to the Father and saved us from eternal damnation because of our sins. He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and they sent the Holy Spirit as a gift living within us to assist us in our Christian growth in holiness, and given us the ability to share this Good News (Gospel) of salvation with others. The Acts of the Apostles, by prayer, deeds and words, witness and demonstrate in the power of the Spirit the core truth of Salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.

Attitudes that hinder individuals from doing evangelization:

  1. Thinking that my good example as a Christian is all I need to do for evangelization.
  2. Fear of being rejected, made fun of, making a fool of myself, people won’t listen.
  3. Thinking that I have to know Catholic doctrine very well.
  4. My life is not what it should be; I am not worthy to share the Gospel with others.
  5. I am a sinful person; I would be a hypocrite to share spiritually.
  6. I do evangelize—I always “preach to others” and nag those I know to go to Church.
  7. A lack of trust in the Lord that he will be working in the person or group I speak to.
  8. Laziness or I need deep personal spiritual renewal myself.

Helpful or useful in evangelizing or faith sharing.

  1. Just share simply the good things God has done in my life
  2. That I am sincere in following the Lord and willing to change those things that hold me back.
  3. It is good if I am aware of the presence of the Lord in the event, and open to his gifts.
  4. I believe in God’s personal love for me, and in the events of my life.
  5. To know that I am not focusing on my perfection and holiness, but on the wonderful ways, the Lord has worked in my life.
  6. I understand that I learn by practice and making mistakes. I should know that I don’t always share my whole testimony, but only as much as fits the situation I am in, and the specific persons need.

A general format for giving my personal witness or testimony.

  1. What was my life like in the past that led to a change? (specific elements).
  2. What happened that made me change my life. (describe the change).
  3. What is my new life of faith like now? (give evidence)

A life of prayer is what helps me share my faith and do personal evangelization.

Comments

  1. Diana Konger (Crowder) says:

    That was excellent!
    Thank you so much for your faithfulness!!!
    Blessings,
    Diana

  2. oliva ofs says:

    An excellent point was made around time stamp 14.50 on evangelizing baptized persons:
    “The glorified risen Lord Jesus is already present in me, and in the person, I am going to speak to.” 
    Evangelizing to remind and/or enkindle or rekindle another’s true identity hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3) is an honorable and most rewarding endeavor as it then becomes “shared” Light. (Matt 18:20)

    I really liked hearing about the turning point of “life-giving repentance” around time stamp 18.01 and again around 19.02, which highlighted our ongoing need to be filled with the Holy Spirit in our life of prayer (around time stamp 27.11), by Whom we will be prompted to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Your conversational tone during this episode was perfect!

    Thank you, Fr. David.

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