In my search for information on evangelization I was told to speak to a young man who goes frequently to daily mass. By young, I mean this guy looks to be about 19, and I wondered what ideas he might have, but wasn't about to turn down a source...outright. I figured if God arranged a time when we could talk then I'd ask him about it.
Well, God did arrange things and I had a small lesson in humility. He happens to be one of the leaders of a state-wide pro-life group and was highly involved in taking it from a few people meeting once in a while to an active and growing organization.
He had four (on the spot) suggestions for developing a strong core group that would most effectively reach out to the world.
- Make Jesus the Focus
- Build up the Community
- Speak the Language of the People
- Mary & the Saints
We have a message to give to the world that Jesus is the Truth and our lives must point to that. If we want to convince others that Jesus is the answer, we must live as if He is the answer, thus adoration and frequent mass (if at all possible daily) are necessary for every team member.
To help with this, he suggested scheduling meetings to coincide with mass or adoration, and encourage people to go beforehand. Further, asking God for His guidance and grace was crucial.
Build up the Community
To build up the community you first need to have leaders who are excited about the mission and are a good example. Next you need to encourage the social aspect of the community. A schedule where you meet every two weeks. The first week you would have your normal meeting and the second week you'd have a social event. With every social event include an aspect of prayer before and/or after, such as adoration, rosary, mass, etc.
Once a core group is established they should meet and schedule things out for the next 2-3 months. This way a consistency is obtained, yet things get mixed up on occasion. Pray about who to ask to be a team member and try to utilize the skills of the diverse group you have. For example, use the business people to help run things, techies to work on the back end, philosophy/religion people to help with training (etc).
Speak the Language of the People
In order to be able to answer questions effectively you have to be able to speak their language. To learn the language of the day you need to hear it. Read newspapers, especially the opinion pieces, watch current movies and listen to the music.
Have a diverse group At the meetings, spend the last 10 minutes brainstorming, making sure to cover what has been asked and effective ways to answer such questions. Make sure that the groups going out benefit as much as possible from the diversity - sending out a mix of science, philosophy and business people to answer in the language of the questioner.
To further learn the language of the community, try networking with other groups either on campus or in the church. Think about cosponsoring a debate with another group (probably easier with pro-life work, but might have applications here).
Mary and the Saints
Prayer cannot be emphasized enough. Encourage frequent praying of the Rosary - praying a rosary before a social event is one way to encourage this. Find a patron saint, some suggested saints are JPII, Michael the Archangel, Philip Niri, or Dominic. Also, a slogan or an image that will be easily identifiable is ideal.
Above all, remember that you are not the savior, you are just his witness. You may never see souls convert or even have the satisfaction of someone agreeing with your answer. Even if you're ridiculed and hated, if you submit in humility and obedience to whatever God's will may be, he can convert hearts through your witness of the Truth.