Why the Church Isn’t Typically Good at Evangelization and One Way to Stop That Problem

Dave “Thunderclap” VanVickle and I are talking to the one and only Mark Hart —author, speaker, and Executive Vice President of Life Teen. We talk about the struggles parishes have to organize a movement of evangelization and the difficulty of training and empowering individuals to spread the gospel. 

Instead of just telling people to evangelize, Mark is on a mission to teach people to evangelize with a new program—The 99. Featuring Fr. Mike Schmitz, Fr. Josh Johnson, Leah Darrow, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, and more, the program will help parishes start a movement of evangelization in their communities. See more at evangelization.com.

Snippet from the Show

“The Church is an organized religion, but we’re painfully disorganized on a parish level.”


Quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words.”

Mark Hart’s 4 Practical Tips

  1. As part of your morning prayer, ask the Lord for greater awareness of the people he’s putting in your path that day.
  2. Pray an examination of conscience at the end of the day (consider using Romans 12).
  3. Put your phone down more often to be present to those around you.
  4. Instead of texting someone, call them and leave a voicemail if you have to. 

One last tip from Gomer and Dave: Buy The 99!

Meet Your Hosts

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past ten years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses, and Catholic campus ministries.

He is also the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and the producer and cohost of a Catholic young adult podcast Catching Foxes, which discusses the collision of Faith and Culture.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon. Together they have about 1,000 children and get about 3 hours of sleep a night, which is alright by him.

David “Dave” VanVickle

David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen. Since then, he has dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

He is a speaker and retreat leader. His programs focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Amber and their five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.


  1. I am a Catholic having gone through RCIA 20 years ago. Even still I believe a person should be welcomed into our faith and allowed to join after 7-8 weeks of teachings when asked. Then teach the faith the rest of our life. Not go through a class for 8 months then get dropped like a rock. It’s ridiculous to chide non Catholics over never taking the Body of Christ within them when they so love the Lord but can’t be accepted into the Catholic faith without dragging it out for nearly a year.

  2. Hi,
    What you have shared is everything I’ve heard over the years. Honestly our parish stinks, including our parish priest. Working with him is like dealing with a teenager, one minute he says this next he changes his mind without telling anyone he’s changed, so we are burned out
    . I should know I have children older then him. Yes I’m over 80 I live in hope, I have five children and 17 grandchildren. Not one is a practising catholic, in fact only one has there children baptised, he and his wife are hearing impaired their children have normal hearing, but again even though they were sent to catholic schools they are not practising.
    Our parish is controlled by a very insensitive insecure person, to such a degree when really good person arrive they leave very quickly either to another parish or even move to another town.
    Thurgoona is a small town just outside Albury population 69,000. Thurgoona 5 to 10,000 within the next 5 years. Albury has 3 parishes.
    We belong to Wagga Wagga dioceses but we have not had a Bishop for over 3 years, the word is no one wonts the job. As it’s controlled by a right wing seminary.
    I know how negative this is but it’s the truth those of us who work beyond our strength are burnt out the only way out is to have a stand out fight with our priest and walkout of the parish, this has happened so many times.
    In 1975, I was privileged to experience a healing which eventually lead me and my husband to Charismatic Renewal.
    My husband was in media tv radio journalism all his life in retirement he and I both worked for a Pentecostal evangelisation organisation here in Australia. Travelling third world countries speaking in all different kinds of Christian church not catholic of course. So I’ve experienced the joy of serving our Jesus for years. We’ve been through amazing times and times of deep depression. Death and amazing healing through Holy Communion. I should be dead, according to my doctors.
    My favourite outreach is to go to the food courts and see someone having a coffee by themselves and say “Do you mind if we pretend to know each other and have a coffee together, no one ever say no, and within a few minutes they are shearing their life with me, sometimes it leads to pray but most times not.
    One other thing after a hospital stay the lord inspired me to make cards, Christmas cards.
    Then a week before Christmas to go around the shopping centre and give them to those that looked so sad. I could write a small book on the stories I heard.
    This one really blew me away.
    I wa walking around a supermarket and the Lord was prompting me who to give a card to, so this lady near the meat counter well dressed He said, this one. So ok I gave her a card, she immediately started crying.
    Oh I thought this is different. Her story was her husband had just died and it was Gods way of saying he was with her as she felt so alone. Turned out she was catholic, and not getting support from anyone.
    She had two sisters, one was a nun named Carmel in another town and another named Margaret also miles away.
    And yes my name and my only sisters name is Margaret. So my life is full outside the parish.

    I know I don’t have much time.will 99 help do you think. As a pensioner I’m very happy to buy the program, but I really need it to be available here, do you have an agency? And how much would it cost?
    Australian dollar is too low and postage to high to order from the states.
    Yours truly
    Carmel Baker


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