Evangelistic Preaching (Part 7) — What’s the Content of the Message?

This is the seventh post in a series on evangelistic preaching in Catholic contexts.

We’re in the midst of defining Catholic evangelistic preaching by audience, content, and purpose. Having identified the audience as nonbelievers (a term with multiple meanings in our Catholic context), we now turn to the content of evangelistic preaching. 


The content of evangelistic preaching is the message of salvation—that through a living, personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who died and rose from the dead, salvation that beings in this life and fulfilled in eternity, is offered to all people, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.[1]

This does not mean that in pastoral practice, all evangelistic messages are identical. Audience-driven topics such as universal spiritual needs (i.e. stability, hope, wisdom), intellectual questions (i.e. Does God exist?), and existential issues (i.e. broken relationships, direction in life) are all valuable starting points in evangelistic preaching to bring people to the core content that defines the sermon, and hopefully cultivates the conditions for encounter with Jesus Christ.[2]

[1] Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 26-27; “Bulletin…Synod [on] the New Evangelization,” 9; Deus Caritas Est, no. 1.

[2] Ramesh Richard, Preparing Evangelistic Sermons: A Seven-Step Method for Preaching Salvation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 136-142.

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