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Today, about three in ten U.S. adults identify as religious “nones.” It’s one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious affiliations. This means, for most Catholics, the mission field is not a destination, it’s right in their homes, dorm rooms or workplace. The conversations are happening at the dinner table, in the car, in the cafeteria. They’re happening at birthday parties and during holiday gatherings. And while for many, the thought of evangelizing a stranger makes them anxious, the reality of evangelizing to those you know and love well can be downright distressing. Here are some insights from some of the Archdiocese’ of Detroit’s disciples working in this new mission field.


“I pray for the ability to speak truth and love into people’s hearts in a way that truly reaches them. Speaking of prayer, I believe we need to ask God each day to guide us to “divine appointments” he has for us, and for his Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to say. I saw this firsthand when I moved into an apartment building soon after getting a new job. I felt God was telling me to pray for the people in my building, so I wrote down their names on a 3×5” card and posted it on my refrigerator. Most days, I would remember to pray for the names of the people on that list. I wondered if it was really doing any good and soon learned that God had a plan through those prayers. One day, I met a young man in my apartment parking lot whose name was on my refrigerator list. We began talking, and soon became friends. We often had conversations about God and faith. This man eventually gave his heart to Christ, and later became my husband! If you are afraid to speak to others about Christ, first speak to Christ about others. He will take care of the rest!”
– Janice, Clinton Township

Model the Faith

“Many Christians turn their family and friends away from Christ instead of toward him. This is because their lives are inconsistent with who they are as Christians. To turn family and friends toward Christ, the Gospel should be shared through their actions as well as their words. When I was in college, I had three roommates. Three of us were Christians. We went to church and belonged to the same Christian fellowship group. The fourth was a Hindu. One night, he confided in me that he would be interested in Christianity and its claims, but of the three roommates he had, I was the only one who lived a life consistent with what Jesus taught. The other two roommates made him believe that Christians were all hypocrites or the whole church act was just for show. The ability for Christians to persuade non-believers is directly proportional to their godly lives.”
– Jimmy, Rochester Hills

“Not only do I believe it’s important to demonstrate the love and kindness that God wants us to show, but it’s important to convey that God is the reason behind our actions. We can demonstrate that the Bible teaches us to not discriminate against others. After all, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. When I was in college, I had a classmate who was a ‘none’. I was open with him about my faith and invited him to our Christian fellowship group, and he eventually became a Christian. Another classmate of mine was an atheist. Again, planting a seed, I was open with him about my faith. With the grace of God, he eventually became a Christian, too. I will never regret being open about my faith.”
– Aaron, Sterling Heights

“My best advice for sharing our faith with people who aren’t currently connected to God is to do our best to practically and authentically live out the principles of the gospel in our everyday lives. If we do so, with humility, then people will truly get to experience what Christ is doing in us. My experience has shown me that this often leads to great conversations about God. Also, it is important that Christ followers steer away from giving prescriptive advice. For people to have true accountability and a constructive dynamic, there needs to be a level of relationship. My thought is to love on people first, and God will do the rest.”
– Todd, Shelby Township

“The best way for me to share my faith is by the way I live my daily life. Each day, I pray that the way I show up to others is a testimony to others about who God is and lets his light shine through me. I believe the way others see us and by sharing the testimonies and miracles we’ve experienced in our own lives is the best way to show God’s love, igniting their curiosity about why I’m always happy and have peace in situations that most others wouldn’t. When I see the door open, I share the many times I’ve experienced God in my own life and why I will always believe with prayers it will be a witness to them to begin to believe and trust God.”
– Brittani, Detroit

Meet People Where They’re at

“My best tactic is to live authentically, being a witness to my Catholic faith. Radiating joy, I’m often asked “how” and “why” — and it’s a great starter for sharing because people want that joy. For example, I use how I find joy in the suffering I deal with because of my autoimmune disease as an evangelization tool. I was doing volunteer work when a woman approached me to thank me for being such an inspiration because I was having fun and was persistent at my task even with the obvious difficulties I was having. I remember laughing and thanking her for noticing and that I was enjoying the opportunity to be humbled. She looked very confused. I explained that I had full trust in God to teach me something in my humility because I’m a ‘competitive perfectionist.’ This was huge for me. At that, she said ‘OK’ and walked away. I like to think the small nugget may have sparked something in her. Another time, I was in the grocery store hurrying to complete my task. I reached for an item and instead of grabbing the bottle, I whacked my hand on the shelf. My hands are very damaged from my Scleroderma and hitting them on anything is very painful. I experienced an intense, sharp pain. I do this often unfortunately, but I’ve gotten into the mode of praying ‘Lord, I offer this suffering to you’ when I’m in pain. I said my little prayer after hitting the shelf. There was a gentleman in the aisle with me and he turned to me and asked me if my prayer helped. I told him, ‘Yes, it’s never failed me’.”
– Sue, Bloomfield Hills

Walk in Their Shoes

“It helps to put yourself in the other persons’ shoes for a moment and think, ‘What problems do they have that being part of a church community could help them solve?’ In addition to helping members come unto Christ, a parish also provides wholesome recreational activities for youth and adults alike, a network of brothers and sisters that are like-minded and helpful to each other and inspired leaders who are there to give guidance in your most difficult situations. These are familiar blessings to those raised in a church, but there are many who have never known anything like it and would very much love these things if someone they trusted invited them.”
– Steve, Rochester

“For any that are not affiliated with any religion, or doubting, I usually start by asking them if they believed in God at any prior point in their life. Many times, you will find they did believe before and are angrier at God for something that happened in their life, rather than doubting their faith. It could have been the unexpected loss of a loved one due to cancer, but once you identify that, many times you will find that that person has a misunderstanding of God’s plan for our salvation. As my pastor said, ‘We live in a fallen world.’. Bad things do happen to good Christian people, but the Lord is not saving us for this world, he is saving our souls for an eternity with him.”
– Nick, Warren

“I ask them, ‘Is it coincidence or is it God?’ In those moments that just seemingly come together that some call serendipity, I attempt to compare the present state of meditation, mindfulness, and manifesting with time spent in a church – listening, praying, and asking.”
– Dave, Grosse Pointe Woods