At the beginning of my faith journey, as I was learning and struggling to accept all of its teachings, I was pretty timid about sharing my Catholic faith. I was fearful of getting into some sort of biblical or theological debate with other Christian denominations or religions. I wasn’t sure I could defend, with love, the reasons as to why I believed Catholicism was the truth.
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, (1 Peter 3:15)
That was scary in the beginning. It seemed as if everyone knew more about Catholicism than me and there was always something more to learn. But that is the beauty of our faith and our journey, it is never-ending, we will always be learning and growing.
Yes, we do need to know our faith and why we believe what we believe. But I am never going to be that person who whips out bible verses or is an apologetic or theologian. I will leave that to the Patrick Madrid and Scott Hahn’s of the world.
When I do get into a deep discussion, I get help from those experts who do that well. I have an array of resources to share that were ‘game-changers’ for me as I was doing my own research. I just say to that person, “I am not the best at explaining this, but I have a doc, link, video, webinar, CD or talk that I would like to send you if you are cool with that.” To date, nobody said, “No.” And after most people review it, they say, “I didn’t know that – thanks for sending it to me.”
This past year, since I left my executive career and became a Catholic Speaker and Author, I am super jazzed to share my faith with those who do not have a deep relationship with God or organized religion. And that includes all of those “new age” spiritual but non-religious peeps out there. Let’s not forget those lukewarm Catholics who do not have much of a relationship with God, too.
I love to share my God stories and how He has impacted my life over the past 5 years since reverting back to the faith.
When I am speaking, people come up to me after and say “I wish you could meet my daughter, son, sister, etc. If they met you, they might consider coming back to the faith because you can relate to them, I can’t, I’m their parent.” People also say they are afraid to talk to their family about the faith because when they tried before, it went gravely wrong.
Well, here’s the deal. We need to prepare and understand how to engage at a vulnerable level that will meet that person where they are. It is not about you, it is how you relate to them and their circumstances. And you are not going to get to them by Catechizing, chastising or guilting them to Mass and if you try that, you might just push them away for good.
Mark 5:19-20 tells us, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.”
Storytelling is an art and a science. It amazes me at how much time people put into any type of presentation or marketing campaign for their products or services. But when we talk about saving the souls of those who are closest to us, we do nothing to prepare to deliver a powerful story that will inspire action.
So, how do you do just that?
You must capture their attention in 1-3 minutes and get their “yes” to continue the discussion. That’s all the time you get. You can’t share a 30-minute conversion story because they don’t care, they can’t relate and they won’t listen. Keep in mind, your approach is not to tell a typical ‘story’ with a beginning, middle and end. It is more like a teaser, a hook and a nugget to keep them intrigued for what comes next. This should become an ongoing conversation with your loved one, unique to the two of you based on your existing relationship.
I have been working with a few parishes to lead workshops on how to design, refine and deliver your God stories. If you are interested in this personally or for your parish, please let me know as I can film one of these workshops and make it available in video form on my site.
I will leave you with this. Since my reversion, I cannot stop sharing my faith and how it has transformed my life. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains:
The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of the Gospel “to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.” The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.
Heck, I left my executive career to share my transformation and help others deepen their relationship with God and the faith. We all have reasons we love being Catholic and how our relationship with God has impacted us, let’s not keep it inside, it’s what Jesus asks of all of us, we must share the love and mercy of God. Do not be afraid.
I am Catholic – Hear Me ROAR!