I saw this great tongue-in-cheek article on evangelization from Bill Dodds on Our Sunday Visitor this week that I couldn’t help but share. We tend to make evangelization as complicated to do as it is to spell and say … but it’s really not. It’s begins as simply as introducing ourselves to our neighbors (those who sit near us at Mass and those who live near us) and getting to know them. Begin there and we’re all evangelizers … some are called to more – but we’re all called to this – even you introverts hiding in the back pew!
The team member who shared the above article with me also shared that he was reading this article about Mister Rogers and Evangelization. I’m a big fan of the work Mister Rogers did for children on public television; the college I attended was in his hometown and I even took a class about how he helped transform children’s media. I think he did this by being authentically himself and hearing the needs of the millions of children who watched him. I once read that he verbalized feeding the goldfish because a young, blind girl wrote in expressing concern that the fish was going hungry because she didn’t hear him say he was feeding it.
That type of compassion, listening, understanding, and adapting is all part of evangelization. Some people have been hurt or insulted by the Church, others have experienced life situations they think disqualify them from Church life. When trying to share the message of the Gospel with someone experiencing that we need to adjust, adapt, and tread lightly – not avoid, but be cautious so we don’t contribute to the hurt.
My final thought is that we’re always evangelizing. How do I know this? Because we’re always being watched, not in a “Big Brother’s Always Watching” kind of way – but in a “Our Actions are Shouting our Beliefs” kind of way. If you call yourself a Christian, you’re being called to constantly witness to your Christianity. I believe this is what the 8th Commandment is really about: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” To me, it’s more than just “don’t lie.” I believe God was telling us that we need to always be a witness for His salvation for us.
Where does this happen? The dinner table, the coffee shop, at the grocery store, on our taxes, while driving, while picking out clothes, around the camp fire, in our offices, on the internet … basically anywhere that humans hang out.