What if you spent one year (12 months) focused on one objective: bring one non-Catholic into the Church? Pick one person, any person: friend, family member, some random person you met last month, or anyone that you feel God is calling you to evangelize. What would happen if you spent the next 12 months evangelizing that one person? Twelve months. What do you think would happen?
How many of us think about evangelization but often fail to act on it? I know I do. How many of us watch Bishop Barron videos or post Catholic "stuff" on social media and get the impression that we are doing "our part"? I know I do. How many of us have actually brought one non-Catholic into the Church? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. Either way, imagine what it would look like if you spent 12 months fasting and praying for that one person. Imagine being part of a group that was doing the same thing; that committed to meeting weekly or bi-weekly to hold each other accountable; that shared experiences and encouraged one another.
I've thought a lot about this. With just over 6 million non-Catholics in Los Angeles (not to mention Catholics who have fallen away from the Faith), we are all going to have to do our part. There are enough Catholics in Los Angeles that this kind of approach might actually work. We all know non-Catholics. We don't need BIG APOSTOLATES with millions of dollars. All we need is each other.
Imagine if 100 of us committed to bringing one person into the Church this year. Imagine if we had a 20% success rate. That's 20 people in the Church that would not have been had we not challenged ourselves to pray, fast and share the Gospel with them. Maybe the other 80 people were given seeds that will eventually grow with time.
What makes this so appealing is that it roots our evangelization efforts in friendship and prayer, as well as focuses us on individual people in a very intimate and real way. You're not thinking of the 6 million non-Catholics in Los Angeles that somehow, someway you need to evangelize. Rather, you are locked-in on that one person. It's a much more modest approach, but it's a lot better than dreaming that you yourself will invent the program or write the book or deliver the talk that will win the millions.
That's why I'm proposing that EvangelizeLA put together several local cohorts of Catholics that would commit to evangelize one person in 2021.
I was part of a cohort of seven people last year. Seven of us committed to meeting weekly (every Wednesday) for 45 minutes to an hour to share stories, to pray for each other and to offer words of encouragement. It kept us focused. It challenged us to actually share the Gospel and invite people into the Church. And guess what... It worked! Two people are now coming into the Church who, had we not started the cohort, would not be in RCIA right now. And there were amazing conversation had and seeds that were planted for possible future growth.
At first, when I pitched this idea to my online bible study group, some of them were hesitant. There were all kinds of ideas that people had in their minds about what this cohort would be like. To be honest, although I had been doing this on a personal level for years, I wasn't sure what to expect when I attempted to do it with a group. But it actually went really well.
We challenged each other to be sincere in our friendships. We challenged each other to follow-up and be intentional. We held each other accountable to our weekly personal prayer commitments. People need sincere friendships. People need prayer. And people need us Catholics to share the Gospel with them in precisely those types of contexts: sincere, prayerful, and joyful friendships built on trust and love.
My proposal is that we begin this type of cohort model here in Los Angeles. Seeing that it was a huge success last year, I'm convinced that we should make the effort here in Los Angeles.
So, who's in?
Contact us through this blog/website and we will be happy to get you plugged into a 2021 evangelization cohort. We would also be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Jesus and Mary, be with us on the way