How Can I Evangelize?

January 15, 2023 | NEW MINDS

When we think of evangelization, the temptation is often to think of a one time act. “I went door to door and told someone about Jesus today - so I’ve checked that evangelization box for the day and I can come back to my to do list tomorrow and check it off again.”

But the reality is that evangelization is more about our identity; it’s about who we are as Catholics.

“Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.”

- Evangelization in the Modern World, 14

Being evangelizing communities means that we exist to invite people into a relationship with God - to help them share in the graces and mercies offered to us through the Church. It can be hard to keep this mission at the center of our parish life - but that is what the Church is calling us to do!

What is the Model?

It might be helpful to simplify it to a few phases that we can focus on in our daily lives to help us understand Evangelization. Here’s a simple paradigm: Encounter. Grow. Witness.

One definition we’ve used around the Archdiocese of St. Louis to highlight what evangelization looks like practically is that each of us is called to encounter Christ, to grow in our relationship with Him and to witness Him to others constantly.

As we are evangelized ourselves, we are sent out to help others encounter, grow, and witness.


We want to help individuals have a meaningful Encounter with Christ - and then make a decision to follow Him in their everyday lives. Each of us has to respond to the call of Jesus in the Gospels to “repent and believe in the Gospel”. When the Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about repentance it talks about a “radical reorientation of our whole life” (CCC 1431).

We do this through our initial encounter with Christ - where, like the apostles Christ calls us to drop our nets and follow him. We also do this through our ongoing daily encounter with Christ - through prayer and the sacraments- where we daily re-commit our lives to following Jesus.

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.”

- Joy of the Gospel, 3


After this encounter & this decision to follow Jesus we must then grow in our relationship with Christ and in understanding His teachings given to us and lived in the life of the Church. The more we come to know about our faith, the more fully and freely we can love and follow Jesus.

As we grow closer to Christ by initiating him and his Holiness, we also must grow in imitating him in his mission to redeem the world. To be Christlike means to be in intimate relationship with the Father and to be sent to the world to invite them into the same relationship.

Each of us is called to holiness and mission - and we have to grow in our readiness for each.


This witness is lived in the world by both word and deed. One without the other is incomplete. While we may often want to “let our actions do the talking”, the Church asks us to also proclaim the Gospel message - the kerygma:

“The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed.”

- Evangelization in the Modern World, 22

The world needs our invitation to life in Christ. We can’t assume that simply being around our Christian community will make clear to someone the tremendous offer of grace that God has for them. It’s important to note - we can never do this by force - we must propose the Gospel, not impose it upon others.

The lived witness of Christ’s mercy should be ever present in our communities by our Christian Charity. If we are not living the mandate that Christ gave us that “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ then our proclamation of the Gospel rings hollow.

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”

 -Evangelization in the Modern World, 41



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