Talking with Catholics about God: Invite’¦

Mark Gilbert

Everybody loves an invitation, wether it be to a party, a wedding, or even to join a group. An invitation tells us that we are valued, an invitation offers possibilities of new relationships and new experiences. An invitation offers the chance to belong to something bigger than ourselves.

Many Catholics I know love to belong, in fact for many, belonging to the Church is more important than what they believe. There are Catholic Clubs, Catholic Schools, Catholic Charities, Catholic Hospitals, even Catholic jokes, but you can't tell the jokes unless you belong to the group. The word Catholic means universal and many Catholics love the fact that they are part of one big world wide religious group.

Belonging is so important to Catholics that many prefer to talk about God in groups rather than individually. Let's think for a moment about the way many of us talk with others about God.

Sometimes we talk to our friends individually about Jesus and sometimes we invite them to one-off evangelistic events. Neither of these situations give our Catholic friends the opportunity to talk about God in groups, neither of these situations give Catholics the opportunity to feel that they belong.

It is much easier to talk with Catholics about God in a group where they feel they belong. Note carefully - there is a difference between belonging to a group and being Christian.

You can belong to a Bible Study group, where to belong, everyone needs to interested in learning what the Bible says. You can belong to a Play Group without being Christian. Similarly with youth groups, community care groups, sporting groups. I've even heard of a church running a Computer group to reach people in their area. What are the groups in your Church you could invite a Catholic to belong to?

If Catholics feel they belong in a group, it will be much easier to talk with them about God. We can even run groups that are designed specifically to talk about God. Courses like; Simply Christianity, Christianity Explored, Introducing God and Evangelism Explosion all use this approach, though the titles of many of these groups might be a bit off putting to a Catholic.

The network of Bible reading groups www.biblegroups.net is an excellent way to talk with Catholics about God in a group setting. The studies, The God Who Saves were also written especially for small groups to talk with Catholics about God. If your church doesn't run a suitable group you can invite your Catholic friends to, why not start one.

So think about the Catholics you want to talk about Jesus with, think of a suitable group they could join, and just invite them . you never know where it will lead.