Evangelization often gets a bad rap.
It’s the song by our favorite musician that we always skip. It’s the call we let go to voicemail. It’s the kiosk in the store we have to walk by. We don’t want to be rude, but we also are just so not interested.
By ‘bad rap’, I mean the caricature of what evangelization entails that makes almost all of us cringe:
-approaching strangers …
-peppering them with questions …
-positing rehearsed logical proofs …
-pushing tracts into their hands …
-inviting them to come with us …
and making that hard sell to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We imagine the awkward places where this conversation could occur (hockey game concession line, adjoining bathroom stall chat, DMV waiting room), and we think “Nope, that ain’t for me.”
I can’t blame you.
Some encouraging news: that’s not evangelization.
Our call as believers of the one true gospel of Jesus Christ is about “proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God” everywhere, all the time, to everyone (Luke 8:1).
Being engaged with evangelization is about those with whom you interact, being able to observe that your life reflects your love of a just and holy God, and that you love your neighbors. Some of us share it loudly. Just as many do so more quietly. Some of us strike up conversations about it with strangers. Others, with longtime friends that we’ve lived life with, for years. Some of us never say much, but when we do, we mean it.
Pope Francis reminds us of this call this month and explains how we all have a “missionary mandate,” “This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving.”
What describes your flavor of sharing the Gospel with others?
Jim Roach, M.Div, is a Campus Minister at Saint Louis University.