Connecting with the disconnected
We are connecting with those who are disconnected from the Church!
Almost from the beginning, Good News Ministries has been active on the internet to reach the hearts and souls of people who struggle to discover that Jesus is real and that he really does care — including those who are not ordinarily found in church. The internet has become the gathering place where we can “Go out into all the world and share the Good News,” as Jesus said we are to do.
GNM was founded in 1995 as a ministry of speaking engagements: giving seminars, teaching courses, and providing week-long conferences. Always in churches. Our mission: to train and inspire church-going Catholics to become evangelizers in their homes, workplaces, and everywhere they go. Our approach to evangelization: Live your life in such a way that others see Christ in you and want more of him; instead of knocking on doors to invite people to church, be so Christ-like that people come knocking on your door to find out how to have the same kind of faith.
It wasn’t long, however, before we expanded out from the original venues of our mission. The internet became a public gathering place at the same time we were beginning to grow. In 1996, we launched our first website, and ever since then we have recognized and followed the voice of Christ calling us to make holy use of every advance in technology as instruments of spreading the Good News.
This is why we are now spending a lot of staff time on growing a strong outreach on social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and using other social communications technologies.
Pope Francis, on September 21, 2013, told participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications — and all of us — why and how we should be engaged in faith-building dialogs on social networking sites. His words affirmed what we are doing at Good News Ministries and challenged us!
Do you agree with Pope Francis? Do you believe that Good News Ministries should make every effort to play an important part in the calling he describes? (I have highlighted in yellow below what we at GNM believe is the reason we exist.) Do you want to do more with the opportunities that now exist? Can we help each other in this work?
Pope Francis said:
“What role should the Church have in terms of its own practical means of communication? In every situation, beyond technological considerations, I believe that the goal is to understand how to enter into dialogue with the men and women of today, in order to appreciate their desires, their doubts, and their hopes. They are men and women who sometimes feel let down by a Christianity that to them appears sterile, struggling precisely to communicate the depth of meaning that faith gives. We do in fact witness today, in the age of globalisation, a growing sense of disorientation and isolation; we see, increasingly, a loss of meaning to life, an inability to connect with a “home”, and a struggle to build meaningful relationships. It is therefore important to know how to dialogue, and how to enter, with discernment, into the environments created by new technologies, into social networks, in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses, and encourages. Do not be afraid to be this presence, expressing your Christian identity as you become citizens of this environment. A Church that follows this path learns how to walk with everybody! And there’s also an ancient rule of the pilgrims, that Saint Ignatius includes, and that’s why I know it! In one of his rules, he says that anyone accompanying a pilgrim must walk at the same pace as the pilgrim, not ahead and not lagging behind. And this is what I mean: a Church that accompanies the journey, that knows how to walk as people walk today. This rule of the pilgrim will help us to inspire things.
“… It’s a challenge that we all face together in this environment of social communications, and the problem is not principally technological. We must ask ourselves: are we capable of bringing Christ into this area, or rather, of bringing about the encounter with Christ? To walk with the pilgrim through life, but as Jesus walked with the pilgrims of Emmaus, warming their hearts and leading them to the Lord? Are we capable of communicating the face of a Church which can be a “home” to everyone?”
If this mission excites you, if you agree with Pope Francis, join Good News Ministries in making a difference in the hearts of the people who have felt disconnected from or even shunned by the Church. Join our team, or make a donation to help us grow our outreach, or ask us how we can train your parish to accompany people on their journeys through both personal encounters and social communications tools.
As Pope Francis prayed at the end of his address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications: “Let us all pray that the Lord may warm our hearts and sustain us in the engaging mission of bringing him to the world.”
© 2013 by Terry A. Modica