In 2020, the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry (BCELM) developed this brief outline for evangelisation:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (NRSV)
Jesus’ final words to the apostles are the centrepiece of the Christian mission to evangelise. We are commissioned to go forth inviting people to discipleship, grounded in Jesus’ ongoing living presence in the Holy Spirit.
The primary focus for evangelising is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him (Evangelii Gaudium n.264)
Those who have opened their hearts to God’s love, heard his voice and received his light cannot keep this gift to themselves. (Lumen Fidei n.37)
Evangelisation is characterised by an encounter with the living Jesus, formation in discipleship and mission in the world.
Being Christian is not the result of an ethical or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. (Deus Caritas Est, n.1, Benedict XVI)
ENCOUNTER: At the heart of evangelisation is an encounter with the living Jesus and understanding that “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” (Evangelii Gaudium n.164) Jesus invites us into relationship with him, to participate in his Church and to carry his love into the world. Our relationship with Jesus is sustained by the Holy Spirit through the intimacy of eucharist, sacraments, scripture, prayer and mercy.
In these three truths – God loves you; Christ is your saviour; he is alive – we see God the Father and Jesus. Wherever the Father and the Son are, there too is the Holy Spirit … when you receive the Spirit, he draws you ever more deeply into the heart of Christ, so that you can grow in his love, his life and his power. (Christus Vivit, n.130)
DISCIPLESHIP: In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. (cf. Mt 28:19; EG n.120, cf. Lumen Gentium Chapter 2)
Disciples are called to listen with openness and generosity to God’s Word, responding to the deeply personal invitation to follow after Jesus as friend and shepherd, so as to live out his commandment of love in a community committed to service and witness.
MISSION: The whole Church therefore is called to evangelise, and yet within her we have different evangelising tasks to accomplish (Evangelii Nuntiandi n.66)
Bishops, priests and deacons, and those laity called to ecclesial ministry, gather and sustain the People of God through sacrament, teaching and proclamation. Religious, laity, familiesand young people, carry the Gospel into the world transforming it through witness, word, holiness, mercy and life (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi n.66-73). Equally, ordained and lay are co-responsible for the Church’s mission and must be formed accordingly (cf. Benedict XVI, Church Membership and Pastoral Responsibility, 26 May 2009).
For the Church, evangelising means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new. But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n.18)
- Taken from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference's 'Mandate of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry'.