Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Do I Help Someone Get Involved at Church?

Q - I discovered today that a friend of mine is Catholic and has been going to Mass, but hasn't gotten involved in any way. We talked about it for a while and he said he's never been involved in a youth group or Church activities of any sort. When I suggested he try to come to events or other activities at church, he said he'd feel uncomfortable because he's not a "die-hard" and would feel out of place with people that were. He thanked me for the invitation but said he wouldn't take it up for now. My question is, what's a good way to ease someone like this into deeper involvement with the Church? He talked about how impressed he was with the youth and vibrancy of the church, but felt out of place in it. What can you do in a situation like this? With a Catholic who appreciates the church and attends, but has never been involved at a deeper level?

A -
Thanks for the question. This is a somewhat delicate situation and there are several guiding principles that can help you.

1 - Respect his freedom.
The gift of our free will is a beautiful thing. We should always respect this gift in ourselves and others. This means that we must allow the person to make their own decisions, even if they are not what we believe is best for them.

2 - Continue to evangelize him.
Everyone needs to grow closer to God and we are all called to help others do so. You can help others by continuing to gently invite, talk about your faith (without being pushy), and ask questions. You also need to be a good example for your friend. Finally, try to engage him in dialogue about faith issues. But, don't get overly aggressive about it.

3 - Let God do the heavy lifting.
You must remain patient with your friend. It is an exercise of our faith and hope to believe that God wants something even more than you do for him. So, let God work on his heart and hope that in time it will happen.

4 - Stay positive.
This is very important. You don't want to guilt your friend into getting more involved. Remember that he is still coming to Mass and this is the biggest of all steps.

I know this isn't the magic bullet you might have been hoping for, but it really is the best avenue to evangelize another - by being a good friend and a good Catholic.

I hope this helps.

1 comment:

stceolfrithtx said...

Picking an event that doesn't place a lot of demands on the visitor is a good idea if you're seeking to introduce a more introverted person to more involvement. No singing, no small groups, maybe even no icebreakers.

Attending a talk series would probably be perfect. You go, you sit, you listen, you meet a few new people, a manageable number. If the idea doesn't go over well enough, you wait, you pray, you re-evalutate based on your knowledge of your friend, which I don't have. :D