We often hear our Catholics bemoan the fact that while they are aware of the need to evangelise, there is little clarity on how to go about it. In our previous three instalments of this four-part series, we have examined the why, what and when of evangelisation. In this concluding article, we want to look at the ‘hows’ of sharing one’s faith with others.
Generally, there are two aspects to evangelisation – witnessing with our lives, and proclaiming the Good News.
Witnessing with our lives
We want the people in our lives to hear the Good News that they are loved and saved by God. Witnessing to this divine offer means living the kind of life that gives others a glimpse into what a relationship with this amazing God looks like.
God’s deepest desire is for us to be in perfect union with Him. If we lean on this as our truest purpose and final destination, we will live our lives marching to the beat of a different drum. It affects the way we work, play, make decisions and relate to others, all because our orientation is to do all things pleasing to God. When others see how joyful and loving we are despite life’s challenges, they will be curious and are attracted to find out more.
Proclaiming the Good News
While it is important to live our faith in an open and consistent manner to the people around us, we must also look out for opportunities to proclaim the Good News in ways our friends can understand and act upon. St Paul reminds us in Romans 10:14, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them?” To proclaim the Good News is to speak about the message of Jesus Christ, God who became man in order to reach out and heal us of our sins and brokenness. It is for passing on Jesus’ message to others that we were made to dwell in God’s Kingdom, and to teach others how to live the Christian life when they are ready to make a decision to follow Christ.
How can we witness and proclaim effectively?
In the Gospels, Jesus promised to make His disciples ‘fishers of men.’ As we live out our calling as evangelisers, we would like to propose the acronym F.I.S.H as a simple 4-step way to lead others to faith.
F – to be a FRIEND to others. “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Give me something to drink.’” (John 4:7)
Befriending others allows us to truly listen to their joys and pains in life. If we are genuine, it may lead to an open door for us to share about how our faith in Jesus influences the way we deal with our own joys and challenges. This gives them an opportunity to consider an alternative way of navigating through life.
I – INITIATE meaningful conversation with the other. “He said to them, ‘what are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?’” (Luke 24:17)
Initiate conversations that lead people to think about the world through the eyes of faith. A good conversation is two-sided and informal; the key to a good conversation is asking good questions. Examples of questions that open the door to further spiritual conversations might be along the lines of: What do you believe about God? Do you ever think about why you do that? How do you find the strength to love your parents/spouse/kids? Be a good listener and never marginalise their views. Remember that spiritual conversations can lead to spiritual conversions.
S – SHARE the Good News at every opportunity. “Simply proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We share this because of how much God has loved us and we want to love God by loving others. However, we want to be prudent in how we share. We speak from the position of our own experience and our beliefs, allowing our listeners to ask questions and to decide for themselves.
H – HELP the other person on the journey. “Remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
After sharing the Good News with others, help them take the next small step. This might mean offering to take them to Church, inviting them to your Christian community or helping them sign up for RCIA. If they decide they are not yet ready to take the next step, continue to journey with them and look for more opportunities to invite them to the faith.
Our lives are shaped and informed by our Christian faith and values. It is our mission to live a life that reflects the light of Christ to others. Start by taking an interest in the lives of others, learn to listen, care and serve others especially those who are marginalised. Then learn to pray for them, entrusting them to God. Remain open and be led by the Holy Spirit. You will live a life of evangelisation – witnessing and proclaiming Jesus to others!
Daphne is part of the Evangelisation team at the Office for the New Evangelisation (ONE). This is the final article of the series of four on evangelisation by ONE.