Evangelization in the Catholic Church
An evangelized person is someone deeply touched by the “good news” (euangel- in Greek) known in Christ Jesus. The goal of all evangelization is to help those living without the good news know the fullness of life Christ said he came to bring.
The good news is the joy, fulfillment, challenge to grow, the peace beyond understanding, the comfort, the counsel, the call to help needing people and billions of blessings we experience because Christ is the center of our lives.
Catholics have a special commission to evangelize non-practicing Catholics, the baptized but unchurched, and those alienated from the Church for whatever reason. We also, along with our Protestant brethren, reach out to those living without the light of the world, Jesus. The laity are particularly charged with this work because they have so many opportunities in daily life.
Evangelization is simply sharing our story (witness) within trusting relationships, with those to whom our experiences and stories matter, as theirs matter to us. When our lives revolve around our relationship with Christ, that relationship influences everything we do and are. We share our experience of Christ within trusting relationships as naturally as we would talk about any important person in our lives.
The Evangelical Catholic provides concrete, practical methods to form people for evangelization on campuses and in parishes. These methods are guided by the following Four Stages of Evangelistic Ministry:
1. Evangelization: Individuals formed by an encounter with Christ in the Church develop the desire for a deeper encounter with Christ, often through the invitation of those already formed by mentors. Those outside the Church become curious about Christianity through the witness of the faithful.
2. Establishing: Those drawn to this deeper encounter with Christ are established as committed disciples of Jesus through mentoring formation in prayer, sacraments, scripture-prayer/lectio, and service.
3. Equipping: As they are established, disciples come to embrace Jesus’ request that his followers reach out to others with the joy and love they have known in Christ and community. Mature disciples want to be equipped for witness, especially within trusting relationships.
4. Engagement: Established and equipped disciples form and train other potential leaders. They use their gifts and energy to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world through their personal and spiritual gifts.