THRESHOLDS OF EVANGELIZATION

  • A. TRUST: The first task of evangelization is to determine if a bridge of trust already exists with respect to the person you target for evangelization. Trust can exist either in a person or a thing. If the bridge doesn’t exist, then the first step is to help the person build that bridge. Trust, if it flows from a person, is earned primarily through relationships. It is the compassion, integrity, warmth and joy of our own faith life that kindles trust.
  • B. Curiosity: Once someone has a bridge of trust in place our role is to help move our friend towards a curiosity about Jesus Christ. How we present Jesus is critical. There are 3 basic stages of curiosity:
  • Awareness: A person becomes aware that there are more possibilities in life then they had imagined or experienced. One such possibility is that “I have a personal relationship with a God who loves me”.
  • Engagement: This is when the curious person takes steps on his own to pursue his or her curiosity by, say, making friends with a Christian, reading about Jesus and so on.
  • Exchange: The person begins to experience intense curiosity. The person moves from merely listening and semi-covert examination of Christians and their faith to actively asking questions and exchanging ideas. 
    1. At this stage one of the best ways of introducing Jesus is by asking questions like “who do you think that Jesus is? Another is to tell stories. Telling stories of Jesus from the New Testament or someone else’s experiences of healing or forgiveness can be very powerful.
  • C. Openness: Moving into this threshold is one of the most difficult journeys for 21st century people to take because it demands that we declare ourselves open to the possibility of personal and spiritual change.
  • D. Seeking: At this stage the seeker is encouraged to focus on the person of Jesus and the central issue of Kerygma leaving other doctrinal issues until later. If the individual is going through RCIA these other issues will be addressed in that process. Where RCIA does not focus on “making disciples” there is a high hemorrhage rate among RCIA alumni.
  • E. Intentional Discipleship: This requires an extremely active choice. The seeker has to do what Simon Peter, James and John did. The seeker has to drop his or her nets abandoning themselves to Jesus. This decision should be made whether or not the seeker has made the decision to enter the Church. In fact we should encourage a seeker to “drop their nets” and follow Christ before they have made a decision to enter the Church.

 

 

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