Last week I ran into a local reader and subscriber at this blog, who naturally wondered where the heck I’ve been. Sick leave is the answer, I’m still on it, hitting about a 25% attendance rate at everything that counts as normal-life.
(No, it’s not COVID. Thanks for asking.)
What I didn’t know he didn’t know (and therefore other subscribers here may have the same question) is that I’ve also blogged at Patheos, and I resumed writing there this summer. My presence there is erratic, heavy on controversial topics, and exists because never-blogging does not work for me. (I have a second disorder called Can’t Shut Up.)
So if you have a disorder called Can’t Get Enough of Ornery Bloggers, you can subscribe at patheos.com/blogs/jenniferfitz and I can take the edge off.
Otherwise I’m largely offline. My Facebook presence is zero; I do tweet headlines and hit the the “like” button on things, but even when it seems like I’m itching for a fight, I’m really not. You’re certainly welcome to follow me there, @JenFitz_Reads is the active account.
How to Find a Great Speaker for Your Evangelization Event
I am doing zero speaking gigs at this time — no phone interviews, no zoom meetings, no radio shows, I’m pretty happy if I hold a conversation at all, with anyone, definitely not booking your parish or diocesan event. But of course you’ve read my book, or at least looked at the cover, and now you just have to have me, right? Nah. Here’s what you need to do:
- Work through the book with a small group of picked volunteers from your parish or ministry. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, so you don’t need to prep anything.
- Highlight the parts you really, really, really want your larger audience to know.
- Pick the top three most important parts, and make slides about them.
- Now, presto, you have a speaker able to address what is most needed in your situation.
You can always do a second talk on three more points another time. Visiting guest speakers make people feel good? But they don’t cause change. Change happens when individuals who are connected with each other in an enduring manner decide to take action on a single, mutually important goal.
You and your small group of locals who read the book together will know, in a way that neither I nor any other stranger can know, what the top three most pressing concerns for you are today. Bring those three concerns to your audience. Use the book to help you find the words and the explanations to communicate the things you already know but maybe struggled to articulate.
Then: Equip your audience. Maybe that’s just giving the encouragement people need to do what they already wanted to do, but were unsure about. Maybe it means removing obstacles. Maybe it means offering resources at your disposal. I can’t do that for you either. But you can do this.
The How-to Book of Evangelization is not a memoir of my amazing ministry, and it’s not a fool-proof recipe that you can replicate mindlessly. It’s the testimony of thousands of ordinary Catholics just like you who have each identified one area where God was specifically calling, and they made the decision to answer that call.
Like them, the only way for you to learn how to evangelize is to try it. You don’t need a speaker for that. You need an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in the Catholic faith; you need prayer, fasting, and integrity; and you need to say yes.
The book has lots of information on ways that other Catholics just like you have managed to change lives and bring people closer to God. Evangelization is a skill, just like making friends is a skill: Some people are naturally good at it, most of us benefit from receiving a little mentoring. I profile or quote a number of major players in evangelization today, so if you want some tips on where to find a speaker or resources, dig in.
But even though I love to travel and I love to teach, I’m kinda glad that God’s seen fit to toss me in the closet for a while at just the wrong time. It’s not the wrong time. Me writing the book was about the fact that I care about this topic, I had spent years studying this topic, and I have the ability to write things down. Now that it is written down, you have what you need from me.
Enjoy and God bless.
Photo: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Peterborough (AU), Port Campbell National Park, Worm Bay — 2019 — 0863” / CC BY-SA 4.0