October is the Month of Mission—an opportunity to step back and think a little more carefully about ‘evangelisation’, about why and how we share the Good News of God’s love with other people.

To help us explore what proclaiming God’s love might look like in our day-to-day lives, we’ve compiled a short list of great reads—perfect for anyone seeking to renew their understanding and to engage with others in truly meaningful ways.

Cardinal Tagle: Evangelisation is a ‘conversation about Jesus’

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, originally from the Philippines, serves as the Prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelisation, and earlier this year he gave an animated speech about the nature of mission. His full speech isn’t available, but you can read a short breakdown of it here. Essentially, he encouraged people not to be intimidated by the concept of evangelisation, which can sometimes seem like a complicated or loaded word, and instead to see it simply as a ‘conversation about Jesus’.

For those wondering how to incorporate ‘evangelisation’ into their everyday lives, this is a refreshing message. The art of conversation is on the decline, as many people have noted. If we want to learn how to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, we need to get back to basics and learn how to have a conversation, especially a conversation about what matters most, even if we disagree with each other. Cardinal Tagle has provided us with an important building block in thinking about how each of us can live our life with a sense of mission.

Sherry Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples (2012)

This short book has become a modern classic on the Church’s mission. At the heart of it is the question of how we can transmit a living and vibrant Catholic faith to future generations. Not only does Sherry Weddell articulate what exactly discipleship is—coming to know and love Jesus Christ and thus to follow him—but she also breaks down in practical terms how to accompany people on the path to becoming disciples themselves. Based upon years of research and experience, Weddell introduces us to her famous ‘five key thresholds’ of conversion, milestones on a person’s journey that we need to be sensitive to in order to help them along instead of driving them away.

Weddell reinforces the idea that conversion is a deeply personal affair and happens best in personal relationships. Knowing the ‘thresholds’ of conversion is a great help in knowing what conversations are appropriate for what time, and how they should be conducted.

Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller, Unrepeatable (2018)

Evangelisation is about more than just sharing a message. It’s about recognising that every person is unrepeatable and carries a unique calling on their lives. In some ways, this kind of meaning is what people crave the most.

The authors, Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller, have worked for more than two decades helping organisations and people find their true purpose. This is at the heart of what we mean by ‘vocation’. Discovering a vocation is not simply about discovering a job; it’s about discovering the divine calling that rests on each and every one of us. Our role is not to preach at people so much as to be their mentors and ‘midwives’, helping them discover the purpose they crave so much.

Bishop Robert Barron described this book as ‘spiritually grounded’ and ‘easy-to-read’, while also having its finger on the pulse of where we are as a culture.

Deacon Keith Strohm, Ablaze: 5 Essential Paradigm Shifts for Parish Renewal (2019)

There are many books out there about renewing our parishes. Having worked with parishes for decades, Deacon Keith Strohm explains for the ordinary reader some of the significant cultural shifts that have taken place in recent times and why these matter for evangelisation.

He also outlines five essential shifts that need to take place in the Church: from institutional faith to intentional faith, from engagement to encounter, from maintenance to mission, from programs to people, and from avoidance to accountability. This book is short and approachable, and has important implications not only for our parishes but also for our families.

Ad Gentes: The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Missionary Activity

Since we have recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, it’s probably about time we revisited some of its important texts.

Ad Gentes is one of its shorter documents, outlining some foundational ideas and principles for modern mission. Central to this text is the idea that the Church is ‘missionary by her very nature’, in the same way that God is missionary by his very nature (§2). The mission of Jesus flows out of God’s inner life, an overflow of love for his creation. The Church, too, flows out of the mission of Christ, not only because it is commissioned to do so but as an overflow of love on the part of those who know and love Jesus.

Ad Gentes also outlines some essential principles of mission: the need for authentic Christian witness, for the preaching of the Gospel and for the formation of strong Christian communities.