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Focusing our energy and efforts on evangelization

Scriptural patterns can be a guide for us as we become better evangelizers

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we continue to focus our energy and efforts on evangelization, we can turn to Scripture to discover some important patterns. I propose three patterns that can become tasks for us in the coming years.

I’ll call the first Operation Andrew.

Scripture tells us that after Andrew had met Jesus and spent some time with Him, he went and did two things: (1) He told his brother Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” (2) Then he brought Peter to Jesus (see John 1).

We all need to spend time getting to know Jesus! But then, like Andrew, we need to be ready to tell others about our encounters with Him. We readily tell people about our experience of many things: a restaurant, a movie, a book. We need to be willing to tell people about our experience of Jesus, too.

So a question to ask ourselves is: How can we better implement Operation Andrew in the coming years?

I’ll call the second Operation Emmaus.

Scripture tells us that when Jesus met the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, the first thing He did was to ask them some questions (see Luke 24). Remember, they were headed in the wrong direction! But He didn’t start by correcting them. He spoke only after He had listened. And because He had listened and learned the landscape of their hearts and minds, He could speak right into their deepest hopes and fears. No wonder their hearts were burning within them as He spoke to them!

Like Jesus, we need to be able to draw alongside people and ask them good questions — questions that allow them to articulate their experiences, hopes and fears. The effectiveness of our speaking will be proportional to the depth of our listening.

So a question to ask ourselves is: How can each of us better implement Operation Emmaus in the coming years?

I’ll call the third Operation Priscilla and Aquila.

Scripture tells us that Priscilla and Aquila were part of St. Paul’s missionary team in Ephesus (see Acts 18). When they heard the missionary Apollos speak, they realized that: (1) he was a disciple with great potential, but (2) he needed help understanding the faith more deeply. Apollos, although he was already a disciple, was further “discipled” by Priscilla and Aquila

Like Apollos, we all need people who draw us deeper into the life of discipleship, people who can not only affirm but also challenge us. It’s important for us to find people to whom we can turn and ask: “Can you help me understand this more deeply, and live in Jesus more completely?”

So a question to ask ourselves is: How can each of us better implement Operation Priscilla and Aquila in the coming years?

If we can grow in these three tasks, I think we’ll also grow toward becoming an evangelizing Church.

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