Last year I had the opportunity to listen to Fr. Martin Pable, OFM Cap, talk about how Catholics can reach out to their family, friends and others in order to share their faith. His approach, which he calls "relational evangelism," consists of three parts:
- Listen with respect to the stories that other people share with you. This could be your cousin who has fallen away from the Church, a co-worker with a broken relationship, or even a stranger in the doctor's waiting room. By listening you enter into a relationship with the person and demonstrate your concern and love for them.
- Share your own story. In particular, share a time that you had a similar problem and talk about how your faith helped you. Fr. Pable suggests three phrases to use in sharing your story: "Once I was..."; "Then God did..."; "Now I am..." For instance, if you are talking to someone who has lost their job, you might say something like: "Once I lost my job during a series of layoffs. I was really scared and wondered how I would make ends meet. I asked my friends and family to pray for me, and although I didn't find a job for a few months, knowing that I was being supported and prayed for by so many people made that tough time much easier. God really helped me make the best of a bad situation."
- Extend an invitation to the person. You might invite them to pray with you, to attend a parish mission or just over to your house for dinner and further conversation! The point is to encourage them to take a step towards a deeper relationship with Christ, no matter how small.
If you'd like to learn more about how to share your faith with others, Fr. Pable's complete presentation can be viewed online courtesy of the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association (free registration required).