What to begin with?

For evangelizing friends who know little about the faith and Jesus, where does one start? Specifically about Jesus, would I explain him as the Son of God, the Trinity, both? I would not want to confuse someone with this Theology, so i’m wondering what to start off with, to make it possibly the first fruitful conversation this person has had with a Christian.


I am sure there is a tried and tested answer, but I would start with love. People want what they don’t have. People without God or Jesus in their lives are typically missing something. If they see it in your life, they will naturally be curious about it. There is the opening to discuss the teachings of Christ. I would stay away from something that is confusing like the Trinity. Keep it simple. It is easier for people to digest. The message sells itself. The Church sells itself. Protestantism lacks uniform structure. God doesn’t leave things to chance. God is black and white, and Protestantism has a lot of grey.

I’m a new Catholic, so I may be wrong. But this is some of what worked with me.

Pray about it and try to be led by the Holy Spirit - and pay attention to whom you are speaking. What does that person need?

In my years away from God, a variety of people talked to me about God. The ones who eventually got thru to me were the ones who walked the talk. I could see by what they did that they really believed.

But the funny thing is, no Catholic tried to convert me - yet the Holy Spirit led me into the Catholic Church!

it depends.

are they already Christian, agnostic, atheist. of another faith?

maybe you can start by seeing what they already know?

there’s no one size fits all answer, it will depend on each individual, different things wil work with different people

Yeah, thats what I was thinking. I have many friends; most are non-religious, and I have one with buddhist beliefs.

So I know everyone is different, but I was just asking how to start if they barely know anything. I guess talk about God becoming man to save us all? And then talk about how the Church has carried the message, etc, perhaps.

Inviting them to Mass would be a good start. Don’t make it sound like your trying to evangelise, but rather inviting your friends to learn a little about your faith. I don’t think anyone could fail to be moved by the first Mass and it will be a far more powerful tool to evangelise than anything you can say.

This just occurred to me as I read your thread. Perhaps keep a unique piece of religious art on your desk at work or in your home in a conspicuous place where guests can see it. By unique, I mean something that not everyone who sees it will know what it is and something people will ask questions about. It could be a replica of an icon or image with an interesting back story. There are also lots of paintings with Madonna and Child surrounded by various saints. People may recognize Mary and Jesus not necessarily know who the other figures are and ask. You could then tell them who those saints are and what they did. Or just pick an image of a saint people may not instantly recognize. Or just have something with a lot of symbolism and you can explain that symbolism and the theological significance.

Sorry if that was long. If your friends are averse to more direct approaches, you could perhaps find something that might whet their interest. I mean, many spiritual journeys have begun with a special connection to an object or a place of beauty or interest.

Having an item on your desk is a good idea. Don’t force the issue, just pray for the Holy Spirit to be your guide. Last Ash Wednesday I went somewhere with the ashes on my forehead and a woman I know who is a minister asked the significance of it. It was a moment of grace.

Some years ago I was working with a lot of “bible believing” non-denominational Christian men. Once they found out I was a Catholic they all had questions about the Catholic Church. I quickly realised that, while I was able to explain what the Church taught about a particular issue, I also had to ground the teaching in Scripture.

The important thing to remember is that if you don’t know the answer just say, “You know, that is a really good question. I don’t know the answer, but I will find out and get back to you.”

Read the book of Acts to see how the pros did it. :wink:

Hey so the artwork advice is really good, because one a lot of old catholic artwork and symbols are quite nice looking and if nothing happens with it you still have a cool painting. As for inviting someone to mass I completely advise against it as someone who has been to a Catholic mass as a non-Catholic it can be quite boring and would likely just turn someone away from a discussion. I think the best thing you can do is not worry about proselytizing or trying to convert them but just having an honest conversation about what you believe and why.

I would start with prayer always.

It depends on who you are inviting, their religious background, but I was very interested when I first started going to Mass, which was along time before I decided to convert. To someone who is a non-Catholic Christian and is fairly open minded, they might well get something out of going to Mass.

That’s always possible and of course varies from church to church but speaking from my own experience Mass can be dull and hard to understand(Although that could just be because my family’s church always seemed to have a priest with a thick Irish accent). So taking someone to mass would be good if they seem receptive and genuinely interested in learning more about Catholicism but I would not do it to start off especially if you are approaching them about religion.

If the person is already Christian, then they are familiar with the bible. IMO, if you explain briefly the format of the Mass from a Protestant perspective … the bible … they would appreciate the Mass.

For instance, the Mass is straight from the bible. And it consists of two parts.

The first part are Bible readings. There are three readings taken from the OT, from the letters, and from the Gospels. These Bible readings are the same throughout all the Catholic Masses world wide. Between readings are hymns, psalms, and other short responses. After the third reading, a spiritual explanation of the readings is given.

After that, the second part begins the Last Supper. Bread and wine are brought to the altar, the priest offers a prayer of blessing over them, and then says the words of Jesus at the Last Supper changing them into the Body and blood of Jesus. The priest has this power thru the laying on of hands from those who had previously been given this power, reaching back to the time of the apostles. After that, the people receive the Body and Blood of Jesus just as the apostles did at the last supper. Jesus said, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.” Then the Service is concluded with a meditative thought and a hymn.

In summary it is receiving the Word of God spoken, and receiving the Word of God himself.

Step one LIVE your faith fully and publicly

Step two: PRAY much for them and for guidance from the HS for yourself. MAKE SURE that you know our faith well enough to:

Live it fully

Explain it with charity [always- never ARGUE]

Explain it with clarity [WITH FACTS] A Very good knowledge is essential for this [including the evidence that NOT "everything is in the Bible: the last 2 verses in John Chapters 1 & 2]

PRAY Much: Let the Holy Spirit Lead YOU to the opportunities [don’t look for trouble]

When granted an opportunity say a QUICK silent prayer for guidance

Keep in mind what St. Francis said -

Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.

When I first saw The Passion of the Christ I was gobsmacked. To me, it was the Mass, plain and simple. I fell away from the Church because I had questions the nuns at school could not answer. As an adult I realised I had a responsibility to find those answers myself. I did.

So… start with what you believe to be true.Mass is never dull to me, even if the priest is, because I am aware of my presence at the Last Supper, at Calvary and at the empty tomb.

This is true, even when my grandchildren are distracting me.

With the non religious I would advise being ready to become clear with what is ACTUAL church teaching. And be ready to handle either normal Catholic misconceptions and generalized Christian ones based off their experience with other denominations and the scrupulous.

A great example was mentioning being Catholic to an atheist friend.

He said “Oh you are one of those, you seem smarter than that”

Me: “Hey, what do you think I believe?”

Him: “You know the earth is 6,000 yrs old and science is fake etc…”

Me: “Umm lol no those are (I won’t say the uncharitable things here) And you know it was a Catholic priest who came up with the big bang”

Him: “Oh Okay I didn’t know there were different types of Christians on that stuff, that makes a lot more sense”

Now I didn’t exactly convert him but by the time our convo was done in total and a few more short ones…he had wavered some his atheism and could have the seed planted to research more on his own.

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