When I stepped out onto campus as a brand new Catholic missionary with FOCUS, I was still a bit new to the “Jesus thing”. I had a huge conversion my senior year, and knew Jesus was the only way to experience joy in life. Still, talking about him to folks I didn’t really know was a very new thing to me. When I would say “Jesus” out loud, I would turn a bit red in the face (or at least I felt that way). The good thing is, the more you talk about Jesus, the more natural it becomes. For those of us that are still new, or avoiding it, there is one easy way to get started as an evangelist: share your story.
One of the most powerful ways to teach or explain a concept is to share a story. It also just so happens to be the best way to reach people in a culture like ours – a hyper relativistic one. No one can argue with your story. No one can feel defensive when you tell your story. I think it is one of the best ways to plant the seeds of truth into someone’s life, especially if you don’t know them well.
As Catholics, we have done a poor job of evangelizing over the last century in the United States – especially the men. Now that the culture has completely turned against us, we clearly see how poorly we spread the good news over the last few generations. It is time for us to live the mission we are called to live – to make disciples of all nations. Everyone is called to do it, and everyone easily can – just tell your story.
Here are a few basic points that help make your story an evangelistic power tool:
- Briefly discuss how your life was not fulfilling before you really encountered Jesus Christ. Tell them how you were confused, wondering in the desert, caught up in a lifestyle that left you miserable and lonely, not headed in the right direction, etc.
- Talk to them about when and how you met Jesus Christ. This could be anywhere on a spectrum from a dramatic one-event-encounter to a slow unfolding throughout your life. It doesn’t matter how it happened, dramatically or not. What matters here is that it did happen.
- Speaking out of love, describe how the Lord has transformed your life. Give a vision of what joy and hope are like in your life. Describe these experiences in detail – they are what everyone is longing for.
If we as Catholic men step out into the deep as evangelists, the world will be set ablaze with the gospel. If we simply share the experience of our own life, we could be impacting a soul for eternity. Heaven and Hell are real – if we act like it, what a difference it would make.
When have you shared your story with someone? How did it go?