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Between Holy Book and Facebook. How the Catholic Church can better Evangelize in the Modern Era

Scientific Essay 2016 31 Pages

Theology - Practical Theology

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Challenges Facing Evangelism: The causes behind why evangelization breaks down: Barriers in the Modern Mankind

3.0 Marketing Techniques That Would Meet the Challenges in Modern World Evangelism

4.0 Credibility among the Church/Priests: Historical Examples from the Bible

5.0 Repetition: Parish-Level campaigns of evangelism must involve Repetition

6.0 Conclusion

References

How the Catholic Church can better evangelize in the Modern Era

1.0 Introduction

Woods (2016) reported that Americans are like the Pope but do not listen to Him. In the report, it was argued that America Catholics like the Pope because he represents their denomination and Church in the global arena. However, the people of America do not listen or execute faith as advocated by the Pope. The article by and large indicates the reality of Christians showing affiliation towards a given church or denomination but in the long run does not contemplate on what is taught by those organizations.

The incidents of people sleeping and dozing during the mass are recurrent in numerous churches across the globe. Actually, the habit of sleeping in church began before modernization as recorded in the bible. In the book of Acts and chapter 20, a character named Eutychus slept deeply while Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, was preaching. He fell from the window and died. The bible also records that during the transfiguration, John, Peter and James slept instead of remaining watchful and praying as requested by Jesus Christ. The observation that people sleep in church indicates that not every person that attend the church actually receives the word of God as executed by the priest. Furthermore, there are many who do not concentrate on the message yet they are not asleep. It is difficult to quantify the number of believers and church attenders that remain alert and absorb the whole message preached because it is not associated with visible or tangible evidence. Nonetheless, the research of the antecedents and mitigations of factors hindering listening and absorbing the word of God is very important.

The blame of lack of concentration and interest for the word of God has been shifted from the devil, to the believers and also to the preachers. An online survey by elife (2016), an online research and survey organization provided a platform for the public to contribute their views on the issues and the following tenets were raised concerning the problem:

The first suggestion was that the supernatural power of God is absent in the church. People have sinned greatly against God and because He is Holy, he cannot dwell among their gatherings. It has been proposed that the priest in Catholic churches, and preachers or pastors and lay ministers in other churches no longer depend and seek God for anointing and the messages for the seasons and the people they are called to serve amongst. Most of the churches have become business premises where the leaders use their own wisdom and intelligence to source finances from the congregation. Consequently, there is no genuine compassion for the people and the messages preached are not addressing the specific issues that the believers and the church attenders suffer from or seek counsel for. Furthermore, the so called “messengers of God” are not soaked in the true prayer and worship hence they do not preach according to the directions of God leading to repetition and sermons that are neither relevant nor guaranteeing results when put in practice. For example, the message of prosperity has been repeated many times, people have sacrificed their hard earned wealth for more just to receive nothing from the false promises from the men of God.

Still on supernatural matter, some agree that the devil is responsible for distracting people from listening to the word of God. They believe that sleeping in church is a demonic attack influenced by satan as measure to prevent the spread of God’s word and faith.

Another participant opines that physical weary is the actual cause for not concentrating. The spirit and the soul of humankind is are situated in the body. They depend on the body as the pathway for nourishment. Therefore, when the body is tired the person may doze in church hence inhibiting the reach of the message to the soul.

Yet it was also proposed that lack of participation by the congregation such as shouting, clapping, singing, interacting with other people, and answering questions asked from the pulpit would facilitate boredom and lack of interest. Another respondent suppose that sleeping in church is the result of long sermons. Some churches have very long periods of preaching, that it, more than an hour. The commenter argues that research has determined the maximum time of concentration for human beings while listening to a sermon is 30 minutes but he has not given the citation. Some people do not sleep easily so they will remain alert throughout the whole service or mass but their concentration to the priest is not guaranteed because their thoughts may be far from the biblical teachings being unleashed in the premise of worship. It was argued that people have a lot of other things to do hence when the time they deem sufficient for Mass is exceeded, they switch off from the sermon and start to think on other things that they are should be attending to at that time.

However, all this are all public views that are not tried and tested with adamant and prudent research processes. One objective of this research is to conduct an in-depth survey on the numerous articles and publication that present researched and approved concepts and perspectives concerning the same. The purpose of this paper is to identify factors that impede listeners’ comprehension while listening to a sermon, and to explore different evangelical strategies that have been proved reliable to enhance listening in Catholic Masses.

The research is divided in to different sections that address difference issues and review myriad extant pieces of literature that have considered the same issues. This is the first chapter, introduction, and it provides orientation of the scope of the research. This chapter has also investigated the need and rationale of the research.

The second chapter analyses the different factors that reduce the effective of evangelism from the perspective of listening. The section will deploy theories, concepts and findings from different fields such as psychology, sociology and science to holistically provide every angle of information and explanation for the lack of concentration and/ or contemplation of preaching in the Catholic gatherings such as masses and crusades. The chapter will observe listening deficiencies and argue on their antecedents and decedents on the basis of literature and research reviews of the modern man.

The third chapter engages the different strategies that are possess candidature of mitigation employment to the evangelism problems identified in the prior chapter. To cover the chapter, the research will report different “on the ground” Catholic parish-level campaigns of evangelization used to help the mankind comprehend the gospel message by overcoming the identified barriers. In addition, different marketing techniques with potential to resolve the issues of listening and comprehension of the word of God will considered. The paper will investigate technology has been used and can be orchestrated to enhance attention span of the people when a sermon is being delivered.

The fourth chapter analyzes the credibility of the different parish-level campaigns of evangelism. In addition, the chapter will also propose the most viable approach among the different campaigns investigated. Furthermore, the researcher will examine biblical drivers of spreading faith by analyzing the life of early church and apostles such as Paul and Peter. Ultimately, the most dominant and promising factors in the campaigns will be proposed for application in the modern church.

The fifth chapter will investigate the influence of repetition in the church. Therefore, parish-level campaigns that promotes repetition of the message as an act of emphasis. The reading of St. Perpetua’s diary in Mass will be the main focus of attention.

The last chapter is the conclusion that summarizes the whole paper and presents a final consensus and direction from the research findings.

2.0 Challenges Facing Evangelism: The causes behind why evangelization breaks down: Barriers in the Modern Mankind

Apathy; Impact and how it affects evangelism

The Catholic Church over the past decades have experienced myriads of challenges in their evangelism efforts and endeavor. The societal dynamics have changed people’s perception towards religion, and the same can be said of other religious undertakings. Moving to the issue of evangelism in Catholic, it is important to indicate that the Church faces barriers that make it hard for the evangelists to spread the gospel (Chesnut, 2010). However, these barriers are imposed by both external and internal forces. From an analytical perspective, it emerges that even for the congregation listening to the sermon; there are still barriers that make them not get the Good News appropriately. These are internal factors and can take the form of psychological underpinnings, and some could even be physical barriers. For example, poor attention span and inherent distraction can cause one not to listen to the preaching during a sermon, and these are some of the issues that have been attributed to the shortcomings of the spread of the gospel. There are causes behind the why evangelization breaks down, and the core purpose of this chapter is to evaluate some of these causes (Chesnut, 2010). Factors such as lack of comprehension of the word of God, short attention span, and other related issues are the key issues of concern when it comes to evangelization. This chapter seeks to evaluate and analyze the deficiencies in the modern humankind from a psychological, scientific and emotional perspective.

The understanding of some of these reasons which lead to the breakdown of evangelism can help provide a remedy for improving the conditions which encourage the growth and development of evangelism. (Cottrell, 2005) The beauty of a church is the congregation, in the event that the Church fails to prove its credibility and relevance by having enough members subscribing to the Church beliefs and doctrines. For instance, the example given in the prior statements that lack of attention caused by the short attention span. There is a need for the stakeholders to look into such issues so as to propose possible solutions to this problem. Furthermore, as the society becomes revolutionized through globalization, apathy against the Church and the reducing number of church members is becoming a trend (Cottrell, 2005). The challenge of apathy is a great one and is a critical barrier to evangelism. The continued lack of interest in the Church activities is indeed a barrier to the growth and development of the Church and the same hinders the spread of the gospel.

Currently, when it comes to the issue of God, some people are just reluctant to embrace the word of God. This trend makes it difficult for the evangelists to win souls to the Lord. There even exists a term for this which is referred to as “apatheism.” The apatheists are individuals who are just not interested in the word. They have a natural disinterests to the word of God and are reluctant to pay attention to the teachings and preaching of the word. The question that remains is, how an evangelist reaches such a soul (Cottrell, 2005). Nevertheless, the more troubling aspect of this issue is the apparent apathy that exists among various types of Christians. Research indicate that many people who were initially Christians have gradually developed apathy and have shown great disinterest in the issue of the Church. From an individual’s view point, it looks as if the number the situation has also have become apathetic when it comes to the doctrine of the Church, and this trend is worrying. From the highlighted details, it would be right to argue that among the challenge’s facing evangelism, apathy should be given the weight that it deserves (Coyle, 2015). The growing apathy combined with the mass exodus from Church triggered by the ministerial demands is a critical barrier to evangelism (Coyle, 2015). The dynamics of the methodologies of delivering gospel message can also suffer from the apathy trends that is being witnessed in the 21st Century. Nevertheless, this is just a general overview of the barriers to evangelisms and of which with appropriate remedy can be put on check.

Short attention span; impacts on evangelism

The short attention plan evident in some of the Church congregants is an important barrier to evangelism. For instance, in most cases, individuals with short attention span may not concentrate beyond a certain number of hours (Foster, 2005). They reach a point whereby it becomes impossible for them to comprehend and this may affect their comprehension of the word of God. According to Bartlo, Christians have to be intentional about sitting down and not having any form of distraction. Distraction can be a critical cause of short attention span, and this is evident in some Catholic Churches. Apart from the Church environment, carving out time for God is a key factor that a Christian should inculcate (Foster, 2005). The short attention span that is evident by some Christians hinders the effectiveness of the Church goers, and the Catholics included. For example, there are cases where a quarter of the Church is not attentive, and sometimes in adverse situation, you realize that a half of these people are a sleep or are just dozing off. This can be a big challenge not only to the preachers but also to the congregants who spend their time coming to Church only to get away with almost nothing concrete. The notion of attention span is not just relevant to the Church scenario a lone; the same can be applicable to prayer meetings and even in family prayer meetings. The problem of short attention span affects individuals of all ages, especially the adults (Furnish, 1998). Research, indicate that children have a relatively short attention span, but this is not a big problem since the children have programs that fit their psychological and physical needs within the Church.

The adults who have shorter attention span have the challenge of staying focused throughout the mass. Moreover, this trend may trigger apathy where the individual having gone to Church severally but still failed to get any substantial message may decide not to attend church services anymore (Furnish, 1998). The behavior can start by absconding church sermons and meetings, and this may develop into a tendency of not attending the sermons at all. The problem of short attention span needs to be addressed by the Catholic leaders. For example, the Church may decide to reduce the number of sermon hours. Making the preaching session shorter, clear and concise can significantly reduce the inherent problems that are brought about by the shorter attention plan (Gorman, 2000). Nevertheless, from a scientific viewpoint, it is important to evaluate the role of technology on the individual’s attention span. According to the researchers, the frenzied and obsessive compulsive proclivity towards being digital busy bodies has affected the Christians’ disciplines like prayer and Bible study. The same has spread into the Church rooms where individuals have their phones and often use them to break the monotony. These situations can be highly distractive and can negatively impact on the outcome of a sermon (Gregory, 2014). The environment that is saturated with communication information gadgets, especially the phone, having the required attention and focus to sit and listen to the word of the Lord can be of great significance to the Church community.

The problem of short attention span can have a devastating impact not only on the hearing and comprehensive ability of an individual during a church sermon, the same can have an adverse impact on their faith and belief. The failure of one to understand some of the important elements of preaching can affect their faith. This is because a Christian’s faith grows through the hearing of the word. According to the Bible, faith comes from hearing and hearing of the word of God (Gregory, 2014). For that reason in the event that an individual’s short attention span deters them from hearing the word of God, there is a high chance that their faith will suffer and this can severely affect one’s faith in God. From the highlighted facts on short attention span, it emerges that this problem can have a massive adverse impact on evangelism. The Catholic Church must look into ways of enhancing individual’s attention spans so as to increase their chances of mustering and comprehending the word. This is because every Christian’s faith feeds on the word, and failure to get the word can lead to a complete destruction of an individual’s faith in God.

When a person hearing the gospel message but doesn’t comprehend the message.

Some individuals attend Catholic sermons and yet do not comprehend the message of the particular sermon. According to the book of Romans 10:17, “faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the word of God.” From this verse, one can see that the power of hearing is a component of our faith in the religion and of course in God (Hinze, 2010). The context of hearing, in this case, means comprehending, and it is the comprehension of the word of God that empowers our faith in him. The Catholic Church sermons are designed in such a way that there is enough time and framework on which one can comprehend the inherent message being passed. The failure to comprehend the content of a sermon is a key cause of evangelization break down and must be taken seriously. The inability of some members of the congregation to comprehend the message being passed across during a sermon is indeed a critical deficiency in the modern humankind. However, it would be intriguing to know some of the causes of the lack of comprehension. First, lack of adequate concentration is an obvious cause of lack of comprehension and must be taken seriously. The primary cause of concentration during sermons can be attributed to distractions. The distractions, on the other hand, can be attributed or classified into two categories, the first category is an internal distraction while the second distraction could be the external distractions. The internal distractions are the internal thoughts, the psychological issues that individuals have to deal with in their day-to-day can be a huge distraction to the comprehension of a sermon.

The other aspect of distraction is the external distractions whereby an individual’s concentration is drawn by the activities or events taking place in the surrounding. According to Christian perspective, distraction is a tool that devil uses to disorient the children of God and veer them away from the intended message. Distraction may take various forms from day dreaming to hallucinations (Hinze, 2010). The Bible asserts that distraction is a weapon of Satan, Satan may not be able to kill us or destroy us completely since Jesus had already conquered Satan, but he can distract us. This occurs severally in sermons, and many at times some members of congregates may find themselves engaged in deep thoughts about things which have no relevance to the sermon. The argument behind this assertion is that Satan steals from us through distraction. From a psychological perspective, a distracted mind cannot adequately comprehend facts and ideas. The more an individual is distracted, the less likely they can be able to comprehend the word of God. The notion of distraction is, therefore, a key component of causes of breakdown in evangelization.

Another explanation to the scenario where one hears the word but does not comprehend the message can be attributed to negligence and lack of purpose. Some people just go to Church for the sake of it (Hinze, 2010). They do not have any particular reason as to why they attend the mass or a sermon. These groups of people are vulnerable to distractions and are often left behind by the preacher. The word of God is comprehended in spirit and mind, and a mind that is not ready to receive the word may not be in a position to comprehend the same word (Hunt, 2005). For that reason, based on the idea of distraction, individuals with no particular urge to comprehend and to understand the word may not find it easy to comprehensively engage with the word of God. However, it is important to indicate that church attendance is critical for the spiritual growth of an individual. According to Hebrews 10:24-25, the Bible says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The given verse highlights the need for believers to congregate and to encourage one another, and this statement serves not to discredit church attendance but to enhance and encourage it. For that reason, in the event of evangelization breakdown, measures should be put in place to ensure that such barriers are remedied (Hunt, 2005). The idea of evangelization and congregation is supported by the book of 1 Corinthians 14:26, “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” From this verse, it emerges that the congregation of brethren is ideal and is supported by the Bible. For that reason, Christians should support one another to comprehend and to understand the word of God.

The lack of Simplicity in Preaching and Sermons

The complexity of the language use can be a hindrance to the successful comprehension of the word of God. Where the Bishop or even a preacher delivers sermons using hard and technical terms, the congregants are likely not to comprehend the meaning of the message (Imbelli, 2016). In such a case the worshipers are likely to be left behind in the preaching process. Research indicate that the use of simple and clear language can prove ideal in the understanding of the scripture. Thomas Lindberg argues that nothing can be compared to the power of simplicity in a spirit-filled sermon (Lindberg, n.d.). According to Thomas, the Apostles were not sophisticated in their delivery of sermons. They were instead filled with the Holy Spirit. For instance, when John and Peter were arrested for preaching the word and brought before the Sanhedrin, the common agreement was that “they were unschooled and ordinary men” (Acts 4:13). This was the demonstration of simplicity in its making. The two Apostles were the embodiment of simplicity. Paul asserted this when addressing the Corinthians in his letter. During this time, the city of Corinthian was proud, influential and mighty. Paul says that when he came to preach the gospel he did not come with superior wisdom or eloquence as he proclaimed the word and testimony of the Lord (Imbelli, 2016). For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2). During this era, the orators and philosophers of Corinth were famous for their words of brilliance and eloquence rhetoric. These individuals were the masters of what would be defined today as the masters of crowd psychology (Lindberg, n.d.). They moved crowds and inspired individuals to greater heights through their eloquence. However, Paul would not have any of these, he preached in a simple language delivering a simple message about the Christ our Savior.

According to Thomas, the apostle to the Gentiles so much desired to dig deep into the biblical truth, nevertheless, the carnality of the church hindered him (Lindberg, n.d.). A good preacher should embrace simplicity (Imbelli, 2016). For instance, a father who wants to teach his son how to fly a kite does not burry him with a mountain of information on aerodynamics. The father simply demonstrates how to construct a kit and make it fly (Imbelli, 2016). This analogy elaborates on the essence and importance of simplicity in the delivery of the word of God (Lindberg, n.d.). Failure by some preachers in the Catholic Church to embrace the use of simple language has drawn many congregants behind (Lindberg, n.d.). The church contains people from a diverse social background, and some are not well acquainted with the complex theological terms (Lindberg, n.d.). For that reason, these people may not be in a position to comprehend some of the complex theological terms and hard vocabularies that are used by some of the preachers. The use of complex terms leads to a barrier in language communication and must be avoided at all costs. For the gospel to reach a broad range of audience, there is a need for the Catholic Church to implement measures that would ensure that sermon delivery is done in the simplest language (King, 2007). The need for the use of simple language will help prevent barriers that can easily translate to the breakdown of a sermon. Finally, looking at this deficiency, it emerges that they are issues that can be avoided as well as remedied. The facts indicated herein elaborately shows how each of these deficiency prevents one from comprehending the homily preached at a mass (King, 2007). Hence, it goes without saying that such issues must be adequately addressed to improve Catholic evangelism. Despite the inherent flaws in sermon delivery in some cases, the future is still bright, and measures can be put in place to ensure that the Good News reaches all people and that individuals find themselves at ease of understanding the and comprehending the word.

3.0 Marketing Techniques That Would Meet the Challenges in Modern World Evangelism

Catholic community and the believers of the Christianity have got various ways of reaching their target people (Lehner, 2013). The main objective of evangelism is to win more souls and believers to hear and accept the Christin faith. The Catholic Church has been using various means and ways to reach their target groups. Though there are various challenges which Christian have been facing on their way of evangelizing and preaching the gospel, a lot needs to be done to reach a large number of people (Lehner, 2013). Most of the communities around the world have not yet heard about the Good News of Jesus Christ, hence there is very much need to ensure that the right group is reached well. The growth of technology has been offering a very good avenue for spreading the gospel and effectively evangelizing (Onyinah, 2014). Christians have been using various way to ensure that the word of God is preached to the non-believers as well as nourishing the spiritual growth among the already believers (Manuel, 2013). Dynamism in technology can be said to be a very good innovation which has been in a position to overcome most of the challenges encountered in the course of reaching people. A good and well-planned strategy can be said to work effectively if implement in the right way and also to the right group. Since most of the people in the world have got access to literacy materials and access to the internet in most of the countries, a good method can work effectively if implemented. Ability to read and understand, access to technology and open-mindedness can be said to be a good method for harnessing Christianity growth through evangelism (Lehner, 2013). Different means to reach and spread the Good News have been used, with the most common and current means being the following (Manuel, 2013). Frist we have, direct preaching, televangelism, radio evangelism, phone evangelism, use of social media approaches such as websites, blogs, and online posts. Let examine the most common and effective ways which can greatly overcome the current challenges which the church faces in the course of doing its core activities of preaching the good news.

Current technology application in evangelism is mainly achieved by use of radio evangelism. Radio evangelism is a tool of passing the word of God the public by means of Radio Stations using voice information (Lindberg, n.d.). The programs can be aired live, that is a one-one basis or they can be recorded and the aired later to the audience. The method is very effective whereby the target population or the target number of people have got wide access to the radio services offered. This is the earliest form of electronic means of reaching the target population or the target group. Beginning back in the year 1921, the approach has been reaching the highest number of people in the world more than any other method which is based on technology means. The reason is because radio are affordable to many people and the means of access is really affordable to most people. Live broadcasts have been in use for some time, though they can be made more effective in reaching the wider number of non-believers as well as believers, reducing cases of communication challenges experienced in the other means of preaching and evangelizing (Lindberg, n.d.). Some cases include the Maria Miranda, which is the currently most listened evangelism radio station in the world back in the year 1990. The radio was heard by very large numbers which reached over 95 million per day. Having over 530 live stations for the Maria Maranda Radio Station, 22 countries directly received the radio signals hence live broadcast to the large population of people (Onyinah, 2014). Use of the radio evangelism is one of the effective ways of ensuring the Christian are reached easily and cheaply. Currently, with a use of mobile phones technology and social media, people can request for the services or have live interaction with the preachers and speakers of the gospel from the station centers (Ma, 2014). Radio evangelism has been a very effective way of preaching, hence still a very good ground for preaching and spreading Good News of Jesus Christ (Manuel, 2013). The method needs to be well planned to reach specific target grouped hence overcome the current challenges faced by the industry of preaching and evangelism.

The second effective method of evangelism which has been in use and can still be very much effective is the use of televangelism (Ma, 2014). The current technology offers very good means of ensuring that audio-visual information is passed to the concerned parties targeted. The method is characterized by well-formed methods and structured sermon by the preachers on the television stationed aired on the screen (Onyinah, 2014). Using television as the medium of communication and disseminating direct information, the recipients gets the instant view of the on-going activities in the television studio. The catholic community has been effectively using televangelism in the course of doing its evangelical work. Using well-known television stations such as EWTN, information has been conveyed to various groups and reaching a very wide number of believers and non-believers (Ma, 2014). A well planned and organized system of evangelism can be effectively done by use of media, mainly television, allowing a very large position of coverage. In order to ensure that there is massive growth and reach of many people as well as reaching the target group, well planning works effectively before implementation of the program (Ma, 2014). The ability of the viewers to access direct view through the television monitor or the computer monitors and screens, the people preached to can directly inquire, ask questions and get instant feedback to overcome the common challenges (Manuel, 2013). Still, television offers the variety of customized services which tend to favor the target groups.

Integration of the social media such as Facebook, twitter and others such as LinkedIn, people can have live chats and requests hence allowing direct interactions and communication. Use of the social media allows the effectiveness of the passing of the information to be greatly enhanced and reduce challenges such as one-way communication without feedback from the audience being preached to (Manuel, 2013). Television evangelism method has been in use for long period of time, mainly starting from the mid-20th century. With increased access to technology and accessibility to televisions in many housed, evangelism though television has been solving most of the challenges faced in the course of evangelism (Manuel, 2013). However, the method needs to be used using the different approach to ensure that it overcomes current challenges which are faced in the course of evangelism.

Internet evangelism is another method which can greatly be applied in overcoming the issues with evangelism in the Catholic Church (Manuel, 2013). The Christian Gospel is presented to the recipient through use of internet-based means. Creation of websites has been in use for some time, allowing reaching of very large numbers of Christians and non-believers. The websites are run by giving organizations, mainly Catholic Church, to ensure that there is clear information dissemination to the target group. Presentations of apologetics based on Biblical view are presented on the websites (Zamelski, 2015). Still, websites offer a very rich ground to allow live interaction of the internet users. Having very good design and easy navigation, websites are very effective means of overcoming the challenges which are currently faced by the evangelism team in the course of reaching the target people. People have been in a very good position to share and directly discuss issues concerning they spatula life and growth.

Still, people discuss and share the Good News of Jesus Christ using the approach of websites. The news is mainly shared inform of messages, prose or advertisements, and pop-ins. The commercial websites can be well implemented and structured in such a way that is easy to navigate and has the very friendly user interface (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). With close to over 64 percent of the Americans using the internet, the approach is very effective way of ensuring that wide reach of Christians is enabled in the course of preaching the Gospel. Internet-based method of reaching Christians and sharing of Christian faith can greatly overcome the common challenges of communication faced by the church is the course of spreading information to both Christians and non-Christians (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). Data and research show that 62 percent of the internet users actively undertake faith-related activities and duties of spiritual nourishment using internet methods amongst other approaches used (Manuel, 2013). Still, research has shown that 38 percent of the 127 million people who use the internet have received or they have sent electronic mails having a spiritual information and content. Details show that 37 percent people who use the internet effectively have received greetings, invitations and other religious based content of spiritual nourishment and growth to them (Zamelski, 2015). The Catholic Church has received over 15 percent online prayer request by users of the internet. Most of the people still turn up to the internet to seek places and avenues of worship.

The above information and details about the online or internet-based use to gain, access or find spiritual solutions shows clearly that the internet is a very rich ground for ensuring evangelism takes place well (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). Implementation of programs attained and aimed at gaining, preaching and spreading gospel can greatly overcome most of the ground evangelism in the churches. Web sites, if run and operated well to avoid inappropriate content can greatly overcome issues to do with challenges which Christians from the catholic community face in the course of spreading the Good News (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). Having right information, well-structured to avoid information and data overload is very effective way to reduce the issues of the communication in the evangelism.

Phone evangelism is another crucial approach and good method which can be effectively used by the Christians, and more so the Catholic Church community in the course of preaching the Good News and evangelizing to the believer and non-believers (Martin, Booker, & Ireland, 2005). The approach of using phone relies on the cell phone or office telephones to convey and pass information to the target group (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). The method works well for individual to individual basis. Random phone call can be made to ensure follow-up, share information and gospel as well as discussion of the common affairs regarding spiritual growth and nourishment (Martin, Booker, & Ireland, 2005). It is mainly done after arrangement or request from the evangelists by the concerned party. One can offer direct prayers to the teams, direction evangelism, preaching, and passing of information regarding matters of salvation and the Christian beliefs (Manuel, 2013). With the massive growth of the people who can access information as well as owning mobile phone device, communication has been made easier through the use of such means (Reher, 2005). Evangelists are in a good position share information either through direct voice call or through short text messages. Still, mobile phone have been greatly used to reach the unknown group of people, who end up accepting Good News of the Gospel (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). With the current technology enabling mobile phones to have various chat rooms and methods through which people can share information, evangelism has been made easier (Zamelski, 2015). Most of the common issues have been overcoming, yet still, the Catholic Church needs to design and apply large level and amount of investment in mobile phone evangelism. With reduced rates of voice call and sending of short text messages, phone evangelism is a very good avenue and a fertile ground to overcome the on-ground challenges which are faced by the evangelists (Reher, 2005). Accessibility and affordability of the device still make it very much convenient to massively use it to spread gospel effectively and to the large team of people, hence, we can safely say the mobile phone evangelism is a method well designed to overcome challenges on the ground.

Social media is another great room for ensuring successful evangelism by the Christians and mainly by the Catholic Church evangelists (Reher, 2005). Social media include Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others such as Instagram and yahoo. With the current level of technological growth, the reliance on social media cannot be overlooked. The site offers a very good avenue of solving the on-ground challenges facing the evangelists and spreading of the gospel. Research and information from the current trends of the globe show that worldwide population is 7.3 billion people. Out of the 7.31 billion people on the planet, about 3.712 billion have got access to the internet. With over 47 percent having internet access, the impact of the social media cannot be overlooked. Still, statistics shows that 2.3 billion people are active users of the social media, which is around 31.4 percent of the total population and 67.8 percent of the internet user in the world (Rymarz, 2012). On top of that, the internet has got over 5.6 million social media accounts which are rising at an increasing rate of 14 percent per year. The church can there use the social media effectively to solve most of the social, personal and challenges which are faced by the Christians effectively (Onyinah, 2014). People can chat very well in social media live and interact freely to solve users faced by the members. In cases of Facebook use, which has got over 1.078 billion users, people can overcome most of psychological and modern on ground challenges faced by an evangelist. Facebook provides very good avenues whereby challenges in the course of sharing the Good News can easily be overcome. The set up interactive pages and sites on the Facebook is very effective way of communication and evangelism method (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). Millions of people share information which otherwise could not have been shared using the interactive forms, reducing case of challenges fed on the ground evangelization of the gospel. Still, people effectively tweet very good and spiritual based information, mainly with a view to encouraging, teaching and preaching the gospel. People are reached in large dimensions, both believers, and non-believers (Wright, 2005). YouTube has been the very good channel of sharing information and overcoming challenges faced by the evangelist in the course of reaching the people (Manuel, 2013). Uploading of sermons, guidance, preaching and content with spiritual growth and nourishment based on Christianity is a very effective way of preaching and overcoming the on-ground challenges. Barriers to effective sharing and teaching of the Christian has been effectively handled by use of life broadcast using YouTube to share and provide solutions well.

Other effective methods which have been effectively used to overcome cases of a barrier of communication and evangelization include video and audio tape method (Rymarz, 2012). The approach involves making of a well-designed sermon or preaching targeting a particular ground. The video tape or the information is the shared either in the storage device or uploaded to social media forums such as Facebook and YouTube. Uploading videos to YouTube or Facebook allows people to get the solution to the challenges faces on the ground evangelism (Rymarz, 2012). The tapes, having very clear audio information and content, can be translated to various language to ensure that they reach a very wide number of people and hence help to tackle most of the social, psychological and current barriers in the course of evangelism. Good designing is very much effective to ensure that the message is customized to solve the personal needs of the target group.

Evangelism is faced by various challenges in course of implementation and tackling of the issues mainly found on the ground (Onyinah, 2014). Many churches, including the Catholic Church, have been experiencing communication challenges and barriers in the course of reaching the target group. The growth of technology can be said to be a blessing and a good solution to tackling the commonly faced issues in the course of evangelism work. Mostly used a method and ways to solve on the ground challenges are televangelism, mobile phone evangelism, engagement in social media and application of an online or internet based method of reaching and solving the common challenges (Mark G. Thiel, 2009). Use of social media, like Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn has been found to be very effective way of solving challenged face in the course of evangelism. The level above-parish reach can be effectively reached by most of the method discussed above. The point being to capture the attention and contraction of the people involved and spread the gospel effectively in the Catholic Church.

4.0 Credibility among the Church/Priests: Historical Examples from the Bible

Credibility refers to the subjective and objective components of a message or source. The Catholic Church and priests being public figures, they are required to be more credible and hence are regarded at a higher capacity than the everyday people. Over time, there have been cases of incredibility in the church although faith among the Christians has also continually improved. Most of us humans have a tendency of judging a concept based on its past histories. The roots of a certain topic are what determine how harsh or lenient to be when deciding that particular subject.

This sense that the Church affects many Catholics, lacks credibility as a public actor. While it would be an endless appeal to modern skepticism, mistakes to seek the roots of this credibility lack within endless appeals to non-belief, so it would also be a mistake to imagine that it is purely a direct result of the revelations about its cover-up and clerical child-abuse. Catholics do whine around their vicars to their patriarchs, but this is sound in the organization. It is not the circumstance which is part of a reverend’s role to be accountable to those to whom he preaches – he only requires the response to the patriarch for how he has settled the responsibility the bishop has assigned to me. In such a world, so extensive as “duties-upward” were accomplished, humanity could be contented that they had satisfied their calling, but they were unsuccessful to see that they had other obligations to those who observed up to them as select few (Williem, Vol.1).

The need for transparency has moved through with increasing force in our culture but to those who discard it, there is the unpleasant fact that almost each week we have the lack of transparency and another scandal being as part of the problem. People need not extend it into the sphere of religion especially if is a virtue, transparency is called into being in our cultural environment. The question of credibility directly focuses today on child-abuse and its cover-ups. Understandably at the moment that we live, such a concentration fails to see that people are shown how to live by every organization, teach the truth, and be a political thespian in society is prone to facing challenges to its credibility that have been structuring up over the past era. The credibility crisis should be encompassed as an incitement to develop in our consciousness of what we have to offer and who we are as God’s People. But then I am questionable that many Catholics it is an unwanted interference – innovativeness is those above dubious – or it is just disregarded as one of those inquiries that appear impartially enormous (Philip, 2002).

Roman Church in the sixteenth century and the western church in the aftermath of the Black Death, has had credibility issues before and this is something new. It is a part of modernity. While the Catholic church has been deemed for long to be one of the most stable branches and rigid of the Christian fable spreaders some of the good-for-nothing masses willing to take advantage of those searching for some meaning and reasons to their paranoid lives the rather uncertain methods and tactics of Catholics look modest. Incredibility in a church has contributed to the increase of lack of faith in the Church among Christians. Some atheists argue that Christianity is best compared to politics whereby nothing is concrete anymore and that most of the practices which are being or have been taught in a church have become useless (Van & Baker, 1967)

On April 14, 2013, Pope Francis was leading a mass at Saint Paul’s Basilica in Rome where he stressed that the inconsistency shown between what Christians and pastors preach and what they practice is undermining the credibility of the Catholic Church. This concept of our veracity, being a huge part of our Catholic myth, has further scopes. Therefore, we contemplate of ourselves and address that we are associated nearly wholly vigorously and exclusively to our ancestries, we have not been futile in whatsoever.

In the Bible, Peter the Apostles was best known to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus fearlessly and courageously. For one to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, your actions should be evident to the people, and you should be strong and have an unwavering faith so as to preach the Gospel. We should all remember that one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one's life, those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God. (Pope Francis).

A person’s faith is a strong suit in influencing the faith of others. Some of the characters in the Bible who act as an example of strong-willed Christians include: -

a. Job.

His story is narrated in the book of Job where we have clearly explained the kind of person he was. Job, in the Bible, is described as the man who lived in the Land of Uz as a righteous person. As God praised Job, this lets to challenges by Satan take his physical health, children, and wealth. Despite the challenges that he underwent thro, Job did not blame or curse God. Instead, he was strong willed with unwavering faith in God. In his anguishing moments, Job praised God and was faithful to him. In the midst of these tribulations, job said, “I know my redeemer liveth.” Which is quoted in the book of Job 19:25. This statement is considered by Christians as our proto-statement of belief.

b. Paul.

Paul, the Apostle as his story, is told in the New Testament, the book of Acts chapter 19. Paul, born as Saul has his story as that of testimony that there is nobody who is beyond God’s saving grace and a story of his redemption by Jesus Christ. His years in the future showed the difference in his life as he lived it for Christ. His faith in God was evident, and it helped more Christians have more faith in God. Paul justified his faith that Christians are saved from their sins by Jesus.

An Evangelistic Parish has some character traits and responsibilities towards God and the Church. Parish-level modern campaign of evangelization has the following characteristics: -

i. An evangelizing parish offers a hand to the hopeless and hurting.

Jesus was always stimulated by compassion towards anyone in pain throughout the Gospels. Evangelizing parishes are supposed to extend Christ’s compassion to all those in need.

ii. Listens to God’s word in the Scriptures.

Despite the many fundamentalist Christians who hold misconceptions, every aspect of Catholic life- devotions, moral, social teaching and beliefs. Both ministers and preachers should be able to know how to use the Bible to comfort hurting Christians.

iii. Invites people to know Jesus and Announces Good News in the Catholic faith community.

An evangelizing parish provides access to some resources and spiritual tools. This church equips people with strong armed faith and helps answer religious questions and doubt.

iv. Welcoming community.

These parishes welcome, connect and retain people. Here, people share experiences with enable them to grow stronger in faith.

v. Works for justice.

These parishes promote the dignity and rights of all people especially those living in marginalized or poverty stricken areas. They work through system change for justice, and there is no dichotomy between politics and faith.

Study of the question of credibility is that it directly focuses today on child-abuse and its cover-ups. Understandably at the moment that we live, such a concentration fails to see that every organization that claims to show people how to live, teach the truth, and be a political thespian in society is prone to facing challenges to its credibility that have been structuring up over the past era. The crisis of credibility should be encompassed as an incitement to develop in our consciousness of what we have to offer and who we are as God’s People. But then I am questionable that many Catholics it is an unwanted interference – innovativeness is those above dubious – or it is just disregarded as one of those inquiries that appear impartially enormous.

Michael Hoskin said, “I cannot be the only Catholic who is ready halfway through the Exit Door, and who is pausing, wondering whether it is just possible that something might happen that is the first hint of a new dawn?” On April 14, 2013, Pope Francis was leading a mass at Saint Paul’s Basilica in Rome where he stressed that the inconsistency shown between what Christians and pastors preach and what they practice is undermining the credibility of the Catholic Church. This concept of our veracity, being a huge part of our Catholic myth, has further scopes. Therefore, we contemplate of ourselves and address that we are associated nearly wholly vigorously and exclusively to our ancestries, we have not been futile in whatsoever.

5.0 Repetition: Parish-Level campaigns of evangelism must involve Repetition

Some people, especially non-Catholics, posit that most Catholics pray in vain because they continuously repeat prayer that they do not necessarily mean from their heart. Actually repetition is one of the major factor that contributes to defection of the believers from the church. The topic vain repetition is a very controversial and widely discussed debate in the world and it has received a lot of criticism and defense from different sides of believers, church leaders, theologians and many more people. However, the catholic use of repetition is but one of the strategies used to enhance evangelism and discipleship (Turner, 2015).

Firstly, it is prudent to admit that Catholicism contains a lot of repetition. The order of the liturgy is always the same, taking the same amount of time and observing the same rendition. In addition, the prayers are always the same and the types of songs can easily be predicted. The most conspicuous form of repletion is the citation of the rosary as an act of devotion: The prayers are fixed and they are a number of times before completing the devotion. The most repeated prayers include the “Our Father”, and “Hail Mary” which is recited more than 50 times in one devotional session (Ryan,). Other denominations and religions perceive the repetition as monotonous and ineffective in communing with God and lack of creativity or liberty to worship freely.

Biblical teachings of Jesus Christ in the book of Mathew and chapter 6 warn Christians from repeating words in the name of praying like gentiles and babbling empty words like pagans because an effective prayer is not a factor of the number of words. Therefore, prayer should be a personal endeavor that does not use repetition to force God for an answer. However, a controversy and confusion arises when Jesus teaches about persistence in Luke 18 where a lady kept repeating her request to a King until it was granted to her. Moreover, songs are associated with repetition of choruses and sometimes verses yet they are considered prayers of praise and exaltation to God. Therefore, repetition is not ineffective per se but the attitude and intension of repetition is the determining factor.

Nonetheless, this is not the case for the Catholics because in Revelation chapter 4 Peter narrates that the four living creatures in heaven repeated the words “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Catholics have maintained the ancient culture of the church hence there is nothing wrong with repetition. Actually, it may be the correct form of worship and devotion since it has been tested over time and yet not neglected or foregone. It defense of repetition Chesterton explains that:

“[I]t might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.“ (Turner, 2015).

However, the analysis of repetition in this section is not to justify or nullify it but to evaluate its potential in enhancing evangelization and increasing listening of the congregation. Wityliet (2015) posit that the repetition in Catholicism enhances unity amongst the brethren. The prayers are unison hence uniting the people in prayer. The Psalmist in Psalms 133 emphasized this point by proclaiming that it is beautiful and pleasant for the believers to stay together in peace and unity in the eyes of God. In addition, the repeated prayers unite the believers while citing the prayers and present a symbol of solidarity in prayer. Jesus in taught that what is bound on earth shall also be bound in heaven. In Mathew 18: 18 Jesus advocates for unity in prayer by suggesting it is more effective than individual prayers. Unity in prayer and church activities is one of the different strategies that the church employ to cultivate motivation to receive the word of God.

In addition, the harmonious repetition of the prayers and declarations facilitate development of relationship among the people and the even with the priest (Nutt, 2014). As aforementioned, closer relationships with the preacher increasing the level of attention from the side of the believers when he preaches. Furthermore, repetition is a techniques used by teachers and academic instructors to maximize the reception of the concepts by the learners (Utami, Susilawati & Salam, 2016). The same applies to the Catholic Church where repetition of prayers and the liturgy continuously teaches the young and new believers how to pray and conduct the mass. As a result, the people do not feel left out or the odd ones out in the fellowships.

Nonetheless, the use of repetition may hinder the work of the Holy Spirit because the people are rigid and observe a specific structured flow of activities (Andrews, Methuen & Spicer, 2016). Ergo, the people may not see the role of God in giving directions of the mass. As a result, the fresh inspiration and intervention from God may be ignored because they have everything figured out.

Lastly, new people will require more time to get acquainted with the proceedings and the citations. As a result, they may feel out of place and lack a sense of belonging. This feeling of being the odd one out may cause the new believer to defy from fellowship. Furthermore, the mastery of the catholic recitations and proceeding require classes. Most of the students in those classes are small children, therefore the adult my not find it pleasant to attend classes dominated by small children. Nonetheless, it is mandatory for the adult to go through the classes in order to received sacrament and graduate from one level to another (Andrews, Methuen & Spicer, 2016).

6.0 Conclusion

The reviews of the different researches indicate that the hindrance to evangelism and listening to the word of God is not only the work of the devil or solely a manifestation of the happenings in the spiritual realms. Actually, most of the factors that negatively influence evangelism are physical mistakes and situations that can be mitigated by installation of better and specific strategies. One of the factors that affect the concentration for listening and contemplation of the word of God is relationship with the priest. It was established that the people who had a close relationship with the priest expressed higher degrees of concentration compared to those who a distant or null relationship with the Father. However, it was disclaimed that familiarity does not necessarily mean close relationship. Accordingly, familiarity is not associated with a significant impact on the efficiency of evangelism or listening.

The research also established that church the scale of involvement in church activities had a positive correlation with the reception of the word of God. Persons that have been in the church activities longest such as fellowships, outreaches and community or charity exercises possess more listening ability and longer concentration time span compared to those who come to church occasionally and also those who are not engaged in church activities or ministerial works.

The third factor that impedes evangelism pertains to the eloquence and preparedness of the preacher. According to the research, people hardly sleep when the priest delivers the sermon after sufficient preparation. In addition, contemplation of the word of God is usually higher when the priest is eloquent, relevant, and uses credible sources especially the bible as the source of information.

There are two main types of sermons, that is, personal-dialogical sermon, and the dogmatic- proclamation sermon. Nevertheless, there was no major difference in their influence for evangelism because each has a distinct effectiveness that is absent on the other one. The personal-dialogical type of sermon have been associated with providing relevant sermons while the dogmatic-proclamation has been proficient for giving instructions and directions to the church.

Moreover, sermons that the people relate are very effective in evangelism. Sermons that share real life experience enable the people to see the reality of the concepts being taught hence they can easily apply to their lives. When the priest interprets real life experience the sermon becomes more interesting hence the level of concentration and understanding of the sermon is very high.

In addition, sermons that delivered as personal message are more effective than those delivered as a message for the church in a generalized form. People still appreciate the love and the relationship with God as personal hence when the message is remitted in a personal form of dialogue it is perceived as real and from God. Therefore, people pay attention. It was found that priest who address the congregants with the pronoun such as “I”, “me” and “you” were more listened to compared to those who the word “we”. Believers are long for the personal security the experience from their personal devotion and love for God.

Another way the priest makes his sermon effective is by giving hope to the congregants. This does not mean that the priest should not condemn sinful acts or give instructions as commanded by God. However, after all is said and done people are seeking for hope since they depend upon the grace and power of God to please God and fulfil the purposes they are called for. Therefore, it is important for the priest to observe a conversation like that of adult to adult rather than adult to child conversation. In other words, a balance must be stricken between the law and grace.

Another factor that positively affects evangelisms is the use of figurative languages, questions and metaphors to capture the imagination and thought of the audience. When, the mind of the congregant is engaged in the sermon through imagination and thinking the nest step or the picture being created by the priest, they have high concentration hence negligible possibility of sleeping or switching off from the mass.

There are three main types of congregations which include the shepherd-flock type of church, the body-of-Christ diverse egalitarians type of church, and the mixed type of church. The body of Christ diverse egalitarians congregations have massive discussions of the sermon after the mass has ended. Therefore, they engage in revision of the message to enhance remembrance and better understanding the word of God. On the other hand, the shepherd-flock types of congregants do not have post sermon discussion hence every sermon depends on what they absorbed from the mass. As a result, the level of remembrance is lower than that of the body-of-Christ type of Church. Furthermore, it was observed that the body-of-Christ type of Church exhibited higher rates of faith and preaching explanations compared to shepherd-flock form of church.

The monologue perception of the sermon is another impediment to the spread of the word of God and faith. The believers are more prone to teach and analyze the message preached when with friends or family members but avoid discussion of the same with the priest. The congregation the sermons are dialogue hence inappropriate to converse the same with the preacher. Consequently, the priest cannot get adequate feedback on the effectiveness and efficacy of his preaching. Ultimately, the possibility for the priest to correct a misconception or emphasize on what was not sufficiently understood by the believers is very minimal. The research found that the more the dialogues the more the absorption and application of the word of God and faith in general. In addition, through listening to the congregation the preacher is able to determine the issues that are relevant in the church hence prepare on tackling the same in mass.

Attitude and expectation is also a premier factor in evangelism. People who come with an attitude of humility to listen to the word of God have high expectation hence they stay alert psychologically to every word spoken. On the contrasting side, people who come to church as an obligation are swayed away easily because they are devoted to focus on the message. It was determined that when preachers give the congregation a briefing of what to expect in the next sermon or later in the mass, the people come with an expectant heart hence they are more alert. However, when the believers or the people do not have any expectations may engage in other activities or thought that are not in line with the objectives of the message. In addition, the amount of faith also influences the depth of receiving the word of God. The believers who have faith in the preacher and the word of God possess the surety of being addressed accordingly hence they are more expectant and alert during the time of preaching.

Another factor that influences evangelism is the physical surrounding of the place of worship or surrounding. The quality and level of sound may encourage or discourage the people from listening. For example, a low voice hardly heard by the congregant would make them to switch off from the hearing. Also, a loud for that hurts the eardrum of the listeners may have the same impact. In addition, the activities going on in the church may distract the listeners. For example, continuous movement by the ushers and other people may shift the focus of the listeners. In addition, the geographical position of the church may be a hindrance to evangelism. For instance, churches located along highways and busy markets have more commotion from outside like passing vehicles and construction works, have more distractions compared to churches located in isolated vicinities such as in the suburbs and residential places.

The parish-level campaigns for evangelism that proved credible had the following features: Promoted discipleship through enforcing accountability amongst the people, cultivated a friendly and joyful culture through continuous interaction and care for each other, active participation of believers by involvement in mass activities and ministerial participations, ensured personal effort to increase faith through individual devotions and prayer life, and relevant preaching that address the immediate needs of the church.

The repetition factor in the Catholic was found to enhance unity of the believers and presenting unison request to God. As a result, repetition of liturgy and prayers increase involvement of the believers in the mass and participation in the ministries hence enhancing, alertness, discipleship and accountability. However, new believers or church attenders may feel out of place because they are not capable to participate like other people. In addition, classes to learn the prayers and liturgy are dominated by children hence adults may feel segregated and more like strangers. Therefore, they have a high probability of resorting to avoid fellowship and denying the faith.

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Details

Pages
31
Year
2016
ISBN (Book)
9783668335158
File size
933 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v342084
Grade
Tags
between holy book facebook catholic church evangelize modern

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Title: Between Holy Book and Facebook. How the Catholic Church can better Evangelize in the Modern Era