By RENEE WEBB
Learn how to evangelize in everyday life at an upcoming training slated for the end of June in Sioux City.
Basic Evangelization Training, sponsored by the diocese’s Office of Evangelization, will be presented from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 30 at Mater Dei Parish – Immaculate Conception Church by Adam Janke, who is vice president of St. Paul Street Evangelization.
“Sharing your faith can seem like a daunting task, yet each of us is called to be a part of this great mission of the church,” said Janke. “As lay people, we are uniquely called to share our faith in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”
He pointed out that Pope Francis reminds us of the story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4. She became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus, and others came to believe in him because of her testimony.
The facilitator referred to the words Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudiium (Joy of the Gospel), 120, “Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.”
Fred Shellabarger, director of evangelization and discipleship for the Diocese of Sioux City, reiterated this workshop is for everyone because every person who professes faith in Christ is called to evangelize by virtue of their baptism.
“As Pope Francis says, we are ‘agents of evangelization’ and this is no matter what our state in life, our status in the church or anything else,” he said. “We are all called to make disciples, to share the love of Christ and to transform the world around us through the joy and power of the Gospel.”
While everyone is challenged to evangelize, Shellabarger said many don’t have the confidence to do so. That’s where Basic Evangelization Training can help.
“It is going to be a fun day filled with presentations, small group work, hands-on practice and more,” said Janke, who converted to Catholicism from biblical fundamentalism in 2005. “You do not need any prior experience or training to join us.”
He pointed out participants will learn the foundation of evangelization and simple, effective methods to share their faith with anyone. Plus, they will leave with tools and resources to start sharing the faith right away and have membership on St. Paul’s online training site that offers access to hundreds of resources.
“Our apostolate has over 300 teams of ordinary Catholics who go out into the public square and walk with people to a relationship with Jesus and his church,” said Janke. “We’ve learned a lot through tens of thousands of conversations, and I will bring those stories with me, to share what went well and sometimes what didn’t go so well.”
The workshop will cover topics of icebreakers, befriending, listening to people, basic etiquette, making the conversation about the faith a normal conversation, sharing the story of salvation, sharing personal testimonies, praying with people and the Street Evangelization’s “One Good Reason” method of evangelization.
Janke stressed the importance of evangelization in the church, noting Pope Paul VI stated the church exists to evangelize.
“This work is serious – souls are at stake,” he said. “We are called to be a church in the world, and in order to do that we need some basic tools to go and start practicing. We will talk about evangelizing in public, in the parish and to some extent in the home and in the workplace.”
Not only should the call to evangelize permeate every part of parish life, but Shellabarger said with parents being the primary educators of their children they are also the primary evangelists.
He referred to a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
The domestic church of the home, Shellabarger added, is called to mission just as much as the church herself.
Cost of the workshop is $25, which includes workshop materials, lunch and snacks. Register at: www.stpaulse.com/siouxcity. You can also find more information at https://www.facebook.com/events/2176490765918811/
Editor’s note: The Diocese of Sioux City issued the following statement on Jan. 4 in response to abuse allegations from…