Evangelization Made Simple
Terry Barber Cuts Through Confusion Over Spreading the Good News
BY TRENT BEATTIE
| Posted 1/11/14 at 2:55 PM
How to Share Your Faith With Anyone
A Practical Manual for Catholic Evangelization
By Terry Barber
Ignatius Press, 2013
154 pages, $14.95
To order: (800) 651-1531 or ignatius.com
Most Catholics don’t evangelize. Some are silenced by lack of a deep knowledge of Church teaching; others by uncertainty regarding the specific ways to share that teaching; others still by unrealistically high expectations of conversion.
Terry Barber, the man responsible for bringing Catholic audio resources to millions through St. Joseph Communications, is now sharing his easy plan for evangelization in a book called How to Share Your Faith With Anyone.
While a grasp of Church teaching is of course necessary, Barber diffuses the concerns of those who believe a seminary education is needed before speaking publicly on matters of faith. The onetime minor-league baseball umpire explains that people are most open to simple concepts, so it’s actually a plus to stick to the basics. “Keep it simple” is the first of Barber’s “Eight Laws of Effectively Sharing the Faith With Anyone.”
Even if someone asks a question and the answer is not known, Barber advises the reader to acknowledge his ignorance and find out the answer. (One great place to find answers, by the way, is at Catholic Answers.) Admitting that we don’t know something shows that we are not into winning debate points, but that we have a nobler goal of discovering and sharing the truth.
For those confused about exactly how to share their faith, Barber explains that the means are many. Sometimes there are opportunities for long conversations; other times there may only be time for a smile. Regardless of the exact words spoken or actions taken, the former real-estate salesman endorses the asking of questions, which is the seventh of his “Eight Laws.” Inquiries make it possible to learn where the person is coming from and which routes of communication should be taken.
Another misconception about evangelization is that instant conversions are necessary. Barber points out that, most of the time, our efforts will simply be “seed-planting” and that others will come after us for watering and harvesting. We are responsible for our own effort in sharing the faith, not for the response that follows.
Whether the roadblock to evangelization involves the substance, style or standard of response, How to Share Your Faith With Anyone helps the reader to get past the barrier and fulfill the missionary requirement of all Catholics. As Pope John Paul II plainly stated in Redemptoris Missio: “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church, can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
Barber takes this exhortation to heart and teaches the reader how to make it happen in simple, easy-to-understand terms. He thereby renders null any excuses for avoiding our “supreme duty” of sharing Jesus’ message with others.
Register correspondent Trent Beattie writes from Seattle.
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