Christians are now dealing with a new obstacle to evangelism; we can no longer assume people know stories in the Bible or the basic tenets of the faith. Perhaps this dearth of spirituality in modern culture will serve to drive desperate people to the feet of Christ but more than ever seekers need basic catechism to lead them back into the arms of God and the Church.
A few decades ago, almost everyone knew the bible, even if they did not attend church because even public schools read the bible and prayed before classes started. I am a convert. As a Protestant kid who went to Sunday School from 3 years old, I grew up on the stories of Jesus, singing songs about His love and memorizing bible verses. I realize now that I was a prayerful kid; God was close to me.
I was raised in the cool, calm and Conservative Presbyterian church where nobody talked about a personal relationship with Jesus, no one talked about accepting Christ’s forgiveness, allowing Jesus to save me or committing my life to God.
Listening to an evangelical friend in high school stirred a desire in me for an intimacy with God. Like the idealistic teen that I was, I dared to stand up in front of a Conference of Canadian ministers, missionaries and elders:
“After 11 years of faithful Sunday School attendance, why did no one tell me it was even possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus? Do I have to go to the Jesus People or the Pentecostals to learn how to be to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Of course everyone clapped as I sat done with my heart pounding. A Presbyterian missionary, with her silver hair swept up in an elegant bun and her eyes twinkling with the love of God, asked,
Have you accepted Jesus as your Saviour?
I was baffled,
I am not sure; I don’t think so.. I am not sure.
Umm.. I am sure you already have because just now you spoke in the Spirit, with His power and clarity. Just to make sure, when you are in your room tonight, accept Jesus as your saviour by asking Him to forgive your sins and accepting the salvation He offers you. Then commit your life to Christ. Tomorrow we will pray together for the in filling of His Holy Spirit.
That night, I felt foolish like I was speaking to thin air or the wall, but I said the words, committing my life to Christ. The next morning and, in fact, for the next few years, I was flying in the midst of the “honeymoon stage” that swept me right into the arms of the Catholic Church.
God pulled a fast one on me because He placed Mary in my heart and no self-respecting Protestant church would have me. Combined with a hunger for the Eucharist, God Himself converted me to Catholicism.
There is no greater joy than watching God work in someone’s heart. Of course, the most important thing is to live in God and allow His Spirit to live in us. God can touch someone without us saying a word but we should know the basics about our faith and salvation to be effective servants in the marketplace. I was converted through direct intervention from God but also by knowledgeable Jesuit priest who answered all my questions and doubts with wisdom.