“The moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization … no believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” -St. Pope John Paul II, Remptoris Missio
This document will give you the information you need to discern opening a local SPSE Team in your community.
- Overview and Method
- The Discernment Process
- Application and Partnership
- Train as a team leader
- Set up & build your team
About St. Paul Street Evangelization
Mission: St. Paul Street Evangelization is a grassroots, non-profit organization, dedicated to responding to the mandate of Jesus to preach the Gospel to all nations by taking the Catholic Faith to the streets in a non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who witness our public Catholic presence.
Vision: St. Paul Street Evangelization seeks to work with God for the conversion of the entire world to Jesus Christ and His Church by providing the tools, resources, training, and inspiration to local groups of Catholics which will enable them to duplicate our non-confrontational method of Catholic evangelization in their parishes and hometowns.
Values: St. Paul Street Evangelization is committed to bringing about the conversion of our culture and is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Patrons: The patrons of SPSE are St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, and Servant of God, Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.J. St. Paul Street Evangelization is consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
Step 1. Overview and Method
Christ’s call to evangelize was made to every Catholic Christian (CCC 1816), and the Second Vatican Council reiterated this need, urging each of the baptized to bring the Gospel, found fully in the Catholic Church, to a culture that has largely reverted to paganism. As an on-the-street Catholic evangelization organization, St. Paul Street Evangelization provides a way for people to share the Person of Jesus Christ and the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith with a hungry culture.
But a person might ask, “How can lay people evangelize the Catholic faith so publicly? Isn’t that the job of priests and bishops?” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, ‘that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.’ For lay people, ‘this evangelization acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world’” (CCC 905). As a lay apostolate, St. Paul Street Evangelization works in fidelity and obedience to the Catholic Church and her Magisterium.
Most of our teams evangelize once a week, every other week, or once a month. They gather in groups ranging from 2 to 30 people and evangelize mostly in the same location at a similar time. This allows the community to get to know and trust the team. Our teams use a variety of methods and materials that they find fruitful in the culture in which they live.
Our Method of Evangelization
St. Paul Street Evangelization provides the tools and resources for Catholics to engage the culture in a simple, non-confrontational method of evangelization. Our apostolate emphasizes a model of evangelization that includes four principles: listen, befriend (pre-evangelization), proclaim, and invite (evangelization).
Our goal is to directly evangelize the people we meet by building a relationship of trust with the community and calling people to faith, repentance, and discipleship. We usually begin by offering a free gift such as a Miraculous Medal or rosary and then directing the conversation towards faith. Our goal is to find out where a person is in their faith life and encourage them to move toward being a disciple of Jesus.
An example of how this might happen is by giving away a Miraculous Medal and asking, “Do you go to Church?” or “What is your faith tradition” or “Are you a Christian”?
Thankfully, through the experience of thousands of evangelists and tens of thousands of conversations St. Paul Street Evangelization has developed tools and resources to help you become an effective evangelist. Our online training will equip you with our best practices.
Step 2. The Discernment Process
All of our efforts are sustained by regular prayer (Philippians 4:6) and finding a balance between the contemplative life and the active life is key to the fruitfulness of our work. Team leaders must have a strong spiritual life. Qualities that make a successful team leader are not solely determined by theological knowledge or personality but rather by their response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Discernment starts with prayer. Ask God if he wants you to start a local St. Paul Street Evangelization team. Then pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the circumstances he places in your life. Here are a few suggestions to choose from:
- Complete a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament giving your heart fully to Jesus.
- Fast one day a week as you are able to for the intentions of starting your own team.
- Attend a daily Mass, if possible.
- Consecrate yourself to Mary if you have not already done so.
- Meditate on one of the following scripture passages using Lectio Divina:
- Matthew 28:16-20
- Luke 10:1-23
- Acts 17:16-34
- Psalm 96
Review the team leader commitments
St. Paul Street Evangelization team leaders make the commitment to follow particular roles and responsibilities. These were developed to identify what is needed to build and sustain strong teams. Please review the Team Leader Roles and Responsibilities as part of your discernment. You will be asked to affirm these commitments as part of the online application.
Types of Street Evangelization Teams
- Individual: This is a team of at least two people who evangelize in the community. They may work with parishes or groups but are independent of any official affiliation. Most SPSE teams are individual teams.
- Parish: This is a team that works as a ministry in a parish. They have approval from the pastor and often recruit and train people from the parish to join them. Oftentimes they work parish events and local community festivals in order to bring those they speak with into parish life.
- University: This is a team that is normally run by students at their university. They work closely with the Catholic organization or Newman center on campus and invite students who want to learn more about Jesus and the Catholic Church to join them for events, Mass, Bible studies, retreats, etc.
- Other: These are Catholic groups such as Knights of Columbus, third-order religious orders, Legion of Mary or others who want to do street evangelization.
Step 3. Application and Partnership
The application is completed online and is divided into sections that explain the roles and responsibilities of a team leader.
SPSE requires each team leader to get one reference from someone in their faith community. After completing the application you will be asked to invite someone who has experience working with you in a church or other faith-based setting to complete a reference form. It could be a priest, someone from your parish, bible study, or another group. It cannot be a family member.
We ask each team leader to partner with St. Paul Street Evangelization in our mission to bring our Catholic faith to the street. We do not directly charge our teams a monthly or annual fee for the use of our name and materials. The recommended partner level is $25 per month. Other levels are also available and we can work with you if the partnership presents a burden. Please prayerfully consider a partnership level that fits for you. Every dollar helps support our apostolate as we continue to grow and work for the salvation of souls! Along with joining us in our mission, your partnership gives you access to our support staff, all of our online resources including the school, discounts at the store and free shipping. Team leaders may also find sponsors such as their parish or gather donations from others who would like to join in the mission.
Step 4. Train as a team leader
After becoming a partner, it’s a good idea to get started with our online training during the application process. That way you’ll be able to get out to the street faster if your application is approved. Training covers both evangelization skills and team building.
- Complete the online Introduction to Evangelization course including each of the exercises from the Practical Activity section of the lesson. If you have completed a live Basic Evangelization Training (BET) workshop you can review the material and do the practical activities.
- Take the Team Leader Training video course.
- Review the Team Development Center resources.
Introduction to Evangelization Training
Our flagship Introduction to Evangelization course outlines the St. Paul Street Evangelization’s non-confrontational method. It is offered online or as a live Basic Evangelization Training (BET) workshop. It is among the most hands on, practical, and dynamic evangelization courses available for Catholics today. It is also the starting point for new team leaders as a way to gain the skills they need to become an enthusiastic and joyful evangelists.
Team Leader Training
In addition to learning the basic evangelization skills, an SPSE team leader needs to be trained in how to build a successful evangelization team. SPSE has developed a Team Leader Training video course to help you do this. The course includes lessons on the mission of the team leader, how to build and organize your team, selecting a good location, how to run an outing, and how to order and set up your supplies.
Team Development Center
There is also a Team Development Center which organizes a number of resources for team leaders to help you get your team started. It includes information on how to promote your team, recruiting, formation materials, resources to be used in your parish and on outings.
Practice Evangelizing in your daily life
As you learn the different evangelization skills from the training, start practicing them right away — pray out loud with someone, practice sharing the Kerygma, practice sharing your testimony. Then, after the lesson four of the online course, you should be ready to start a conversation of faith with someone and offer them a gift such as a rosary or Miraculous Medal. Pray for the Lord to put someone in your day who needs to know His love and also for the holy boldness to start a conversation with them. Then watch for that person; it might be someone at the store, coffee shop, or even your waitress. As you practice these skills they will become easier.
Find a partner and make a test run
It’s important to go on a practice outing as part of your discernment and training. Find a partner to join you and simply go out with a few supplies and start some conversations. Start with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide you and to set up some divine encounters. Then trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, use the skills from your training. Use a small gift (rosary, holy card, Miraculous Medal) to open a conversation then Listen, Befriend, Proclaim and Invite. You can also pray with those who pass by. Many people will say no to your offer of a free gift. Simply reply with a smile and friendly words such as “May God bless you” or “Have a great day.” Remember this is just a test run and you may have to make adjustments – perhaps change locations, your approach, or the gift that works best. That’s normal. As you stick with it, you will build confidence. Your presence on the street and friendly greeting will make a difference (even if you don’t see it). Be sure to take a picture! After you complete your practice outing we ask you to share your experience by sending us a short description of what happened along with a picture. Post your story from the street on our stories page.
Street Ready Phone Interviews
Team Leaders will set up a phone call with the SPSE staff to receive coaching and certification in four key areas:
- Proclaiming the Gospel message
- Praying out loud using the ACTS method
- Sharing your personal testimony
- Directing the conversation toward faith
We know from experience that when teams are proficient in these areas, deeper and more fruitful conversations take place. These phone interviews will help get you ready to join the hundreds of teams across the country (and beyond) having faith-filled conversations with people on the street about their relationship with God!
Step 5. Set up & build your team
Building a team
The team leader training and resource materials cover the logistics of setting up and running a fruitful street team. Notice that, although a single team leader may get things started, it is important for them to enlist other team members to help. Team members not only join in the evangelization but also help with other team duties such as ordering supplies, posting your Stories from the Street, and prayer support (you can never have too many prayer warriors). We have found that successful teams have active members who work together. It may take time to build up to a larger team like this. We have learned that in the long run, a team leader who tries to do everything by themselves won’t be as successful as a team leader who asks for help from other team members. When you all work together it builds fellowship and strengthens the team.
A full starter pack costs less than $200 and will last an average team six months to a year. We recommend obtaining the following for your team:
- The St. Paul Street Evangelization Team Starter Pack.
- One SPSE T-shirt for each evangelist.
- A wagon or a folding table for your materials while you are evangelizing. Consider a picnic blanket or lawn chairs, even a canopy. Be creative. Backpacks work too.
- Business cards with your contact and parish information (templates available at the Team Development Center).
- A Bible & Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- A prayer journal for the prayer requests you gather.
- Team Binder with resources such as first amendment rights and signed Code of Conduct forms for each evangelist.
Recap of how to build and launch your street team
Below is an overview of the steps to build and launch a new team. The steps are broken down in depth in the training materials.
- Pray for your future team. Find prayer warriors who can also pray for you.
- Formally apply to be a team leader.
- Prepare as a team leader through prayer, training, and practice.
- Invite potential team members to join you in this mission. Share your excitement for evangelization and the joy of helping others discover or grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Discuss the non-confrontational methods we use and review the Code of Conduct form that all of our evangelists follow.
- Scout out a location. Find public places where there is a lot of foot traffic – busy intersections in downtown areas, near public sporting events, public festivals, craft shows, public parks, outside venues like public libraries and college campuses. You can also find inside locations such as soup kitchens or community centers. Always set up where you have a legal first amendment right to share the faith. You can evangelize on private property with the permission of property owners.
- Advertise at local parishes and events. We offer parish bulletin and pulpit announcements. We have professional PSAs you can send to local Catholic radio stations. You can set up booths at Catholic conferences or at your parish. We have posters you can distribute as well. You can find these in the Team Development Center.
- Set up an evangelization calendar.
- Meet with your team to share the plans and get started. You will also want to gather together even when you’re not evangelizing to foster friendship and build a community.
- Consider bringing in one of our speakers to offer live Basic Evangelization Training or run team training for your evangelists.
For more information, contact: