The following comes from an Oct. 1 interview by Jim Graves published on the website of Catholic World Report.
Terry Barber, 56, grew up in the Los Angeles area, and enjoyed a successful career in real estate. In fact, by age 25, he’d acquired enough property to comfortably retire. So, he decided he’d focus on a new career: working with other Catholic apologists to win souls for Christ.
He founded a variety of Catholic evangelization apostolates, including St. Joseph Communications and the Catholic Resource Center, and serves as Chairman of the Board of Lighthouse Media. He is also the co-host of The Jesse & Terry Show, a Catholic apologetics radio program he does with Jesse Romero and which airs on 300 radio stations nationwide.
Barber’s “one and only” book on Catholic evangelization, How to Share Your Faith with Anyone: A Practical Manual of Catholic Evangelization, has just been published by Ignatius Press. Drawing heavily on personal stories from his lifetime of Catholic evangelism, Barber offers tips to the average layman on how he might help win souls for Christ.
Barber recently spoke with Catholic World Report.
Barber: I’m not a theologian or philosopher; I’m an ordinary man trying to be a good husband and father and provide for my family. I share stories of living and sharing my Catholic faith in that context.
One story, for example, involves a woman who came up to speak to me at a Catholic conference. I was there selling our Catholic books and CDs. She asked if I remembered her, and I admitted I didn’t. She said that 28 years before, I had taught her in a CCD class at St. Christopher Parish in West Covina. She had gotten pregnant out-of-wedlock, and had stopped going to the class because she was embarrassed. She remembered I had said, “If you have a problem, come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask his help.”
So, she went to church. Coincidentally, she saw me going in to make a Holy Hour. Without my even realizing it, she watched me pray. Her boyfriend, the father of her child, wanted her to have an abortion. Sitting there with me in that church, she realized she couldn’t do it. She had her baby.
Twenty-eight years later, at that conference, she said, “Let me introduce you to my daughter.” She brought over a young woman of about 27, and she said, “Elizabeth, this is the man who helped me make the decision to keep you.” Her daughter then gave me a big hug
The moral of this story is that people are watching you, even when you don’t know it.
Another story I share is of my late father, when he was in the intensive care unit of the hospital. I was allowed five minutes every hour to go in and see him. A nurse told me I could go in. I went in, held his hand and spoke to him about the value of redemptive suffering. I asked him to squeeze my hand if he could understand me. He did.
I left, only to discover that I had been in the wrong room. The man was pale white and covered with a sheet, and I mistook him for my own father. He apparently benefited from my words, nonetheless. It demonstrates that God will use you, if you give yourself to God….
CWR: You say that selling real estate has helped you to be a better evangelist. Can you explain?
Barber: I was trained in the “seven basic laws of selling” by sales guru Al Tomsik. I use these basic laws, and they work. In sharing the faith with someone, for example, you have to keep their attention, which you can do by frequently saying their name….
CWR: What are some of the tips you share in your book?
Barber: First off, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. One of my favorite evangelists is Scott Hahn. He did the forward for the book. He taught me how to befriend people before you share the Faith. You have to establish a rapport. Scott has the ability to talk to someone on the opposing side of an issue, make the counter argument, but keep it a friendly conversation….
CWR: You’ve been an evangelist at a time when many in prominent positions in the Church have dissented against authentic Catholic teaching and scandals in the priesthood were exposed. What response do you give those who bring up these problems?
Barber: (Laughing) I tell them I’m in sales, not management.
It’s difficult to deal with, but I try to offer a firm but loving response. I recall going to a talk given by a Catholic bishop some decades ago. He told us that the Church would change her teaching on contraception and that we’d see women priests by 2000. I asked him, “If Pope John Paul II were here, would you say that to us?” He admitted he wouldn’t.
I had recorded his remarks, and through a priest-friend I was able to forward the tape to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Rome. The dissenting bishop later called me personally to apologize and to say he accepted the authority of the Magisterium….
CWR: Bishop Alexander Sample was recently named to head the Archdiocese of Portland. Salvatore Cordileone is archbishop of San Francisco. Robert Vasa is bishop of Santa Rosa. Archbishop Jose Gomez now heads your Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Are you encouraged by the quality of bishops coming to the West Coast?
Barber: Yes. It’s been a huge change in leadership, and I’m excited about it. Good things have come to California, and I think it will spread east. California is key, as 13 million of the country’s 65 million Catholics live here. I think we’re entering a new era of orthodoxy, with bishops not being politically correct, but speaking the truth in charity.
To read entire interview, click here.