7 Marks of an Effective Personal Apostolate

Apr 30, 2021 | Articles, The Interior Life, Vocation, Mission, & Apostolate

By Amber Kinloch

“Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19

Apostolate—What It Is

Apostolate—more commonly spoken of as evangelization—is simply sharing the Gospel with others.  It is a task given to all of us by God by virtue of our Baptism.  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church  teaches: “‘Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church’ and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God (1270).”

7 Marks of Apostolate

1. Naturalness.

Our Faith should be woven into the fabric of our lives.  It should influence our every thought, word, and action.  If it does, we’ll naturally bring it to others.

A basic example: Grace before meals.  Do you pray it?  How so?  Do you reverently make the Sign of the Cross and pray the blessing, taking care not to rush through it?

At work, how do you handle difficulties?  Can people trust you to not explode in bad situations?  Are you always willing to lend a hand and to help with the worst tasks?  Are you willing to pay attention to people even when you’re having a bad day?

A person like this stands out without doing the least thing odd.  And people take note and wonder.

2. Interest.

You want to bring the Faith to your friend?  Good.  But first you must display an interest in them as a person.  Ask them how they’re doing.  Are they excited or worried about something?  What do they struggle with most?

Offer them help.  Listen.  Just be a good friend.

By displaying a sincere interest in them, you establish trust, and their heart will be more open when you talk to them about the Faith.

3. Vulnerability.

You sense that someone has depth, that they have a story or a struggle to share.  You want them to open up so that you can help them, but you don’t want to pry.  How can you encourage them?

It’s simple—be vulnerable.  Tell them about what drives you to get out of bed in the morning or about your struggle to improve in ___.  It’s amazing how often they’ll share a deeper part of themselves in return.

4. Adaptability.

People need the Faith shared with them in different ways.  To one you might recommend a good book.  Another will prefer attending a talk with you.  Others will enjoy letters, the gift of a Rosary, or deep conversations.  Still others will absorb the Faith best through doing volunteer work with you, or going on a hike to soak in the beauty of creation.

Get a pulse on what someone’s interested in and go from there.

5. Optimism.

We should always see the good (or the potential for it) in someone.  As one of my friends observed: “Being quick to see the good in someone is being quick to see God in someone.”  We’re then able to accept them as they currently are—not who we think they should be—and offer them encouragement to grow in their spiritual life.

6. Continuity.

Once you’re committed to helping someone, keep at it.  Don’t give up watering and tending the field.

Now it’s true, you can’t help everyone.  Some will reject you.  In these cases, Jesus tells us to shake the dust off our sandals and move on (Luke 10:10-11).  But if the door to someone’s soul is open even a crack to God’s grace, keep up your work.  (And don’t forget to pray, in the meantime, for the seemingly hopeless cases.  Perhaps they aren’t ready, or maybe a different person will help them.)

7. Patience.

Perhaps it’ll take 30 years for someone to change.  Perhaps they’ll change but you’ll never see the change in them.  Perhaps it’ll only come interiorly at the hour of death.  Are you prepared to hold out?

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.

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