Today our national director, Steve Dawson, talks about some of the misconceptions of evangelization, especially that evangelization means apologetics.
Misconceptions about evangelization:
- Evangelization is primarily a work of apologetics.
- If a person knows apologetics well, they will therefore be a good evangelist.
- If a person does not know apologetics, they will not be a good evangelist.
This leads to the following realities:
- Many Catholics are totally afraid to evangelize because they feel they are not skilled enough at apologetics.
- Many Catholics who know apologetics seek to drive all conversations into apologetics as if that is what is called for in most situations in evangelization.
But here is the truth:
- Evangelization, catechesis, apologetics are not synonymous.
- While apologetics can be helpful in evangelization it is not strictly required or even called for most of the time.
- Some of our greatest evangelists don’t really know a lick of apologetic argumentation, and that is ok.
Every Catholic can and should be a great evangelist. We were given the graces to share our faith in our baptisms and confirmations. Our street evangelists do sometimes answer questions about the faith or clear up misconceptions, but we arm them with all the tools they need to do that through our pamphlets and CDs. Instead of focusing on apologetics, they focus on finding common ground by listening to others, befriending the people they meet, and building a bridge of trust from the communities they are members of, to the local parish and the ministries of the Church. They are out there sharing their lives with others. Even though the first few minutes of being a street evangelist is scary, that fear quickly gives way to how much fun it is to meet new people, talk about God, and even pray with others.
Our evangelists are thanked for their presence every day because their focus is not on apologetics, but on loving everyone they meet as Christ loves them.
This is not to say that apologetics are not useful, they are. but it is far more important that Catholics just get out there, share the Gospel with people others boldly, learn how to use our testimony, and be joyful witnesses for Christ.