5 Secrets for Effective Evangelization in Today’s World
Here’s a question I’ve been wrestling with lately: Is true evangelization possible in a world where there’s so much bad?
I realize how defeatist that sounds, but there are days when I feel so discouraged by the state of the world—and how many people don’t realize God loves them.
Even in what I would consider a pretty wholesome life I lead—in the Midwest, middle class, in a corporate day job—I feel like daily I have opportunities to abandon my values in favor of fitting in, an easier day, a lazier way out of a conversation.
While there are wonderful missions all over the world, some of us are called to this one: minister to our own neighbors, in our own homes. So where other missionaries may be facing an uncomfortable bed, what we’re facing is an uncomfortable conversation.
But nothing great ever came without discomfort.
As Catholic singles, we don’t need to be on the “front lines” of a spiritual evangelization battlefield to actually live the gospel. As a matter of face, it can come into play in our everyday interactions. It may look like not giving into office gossip, standing up for an issue that’s popular opinion, or doing the right thing when it’s very inconvenient to your earthly agenda.
Remember the why behind evangelization
People deserve love. Just by the fact that they were created by the Lord for love. But a lot of people are so far from the light, they can’t even begin to comprehend a God who created them or cares for them.
In relationships, you’ll often hear that in conflict, each partner must remember: it’s not me versus you—it’s us versus the problem.
When you encounter a person who has strayed from their call to inherent goodness, remember it’s not you versus them. It’s you and them versus evil.
Your evangelization mission is to extend an invitation to them back to the light.
Use a little truth with a LOT of love
My favorite spiritual mentor said to me, “Evangelizing in life is like a truck. Pack it too full of hay and you’ll lose all the hay. Your truck bed is your love. Your hay is your truth. Be sure that you have much more love than truth because if you sacrifice one for the other, neither is effective.”
Love and condoning aren’t the same thing. Just because you love someone who challenges your beliefs doesn’t mean you agree with them.
Remember that Jesus dined with sinners.
He didn’t let them get away with their sin, but I highly doubt they would have stuck around to hear all he had to say if all he did was point out why they were sinners.
We can reasonably assume he spent a lot more time talking about the joys of his promises than the emptiness of their choices. We should do the same.
Instead of pointing out the deficits in our coworkers or friends or colleagues, use love to invite them into better opportunities or ask insightful questions.
Don’t be afraid to be hated
Okay, so Jesus had a lot of friends. But he definitely had a lot of enemies too.
Not everyone wants to be friends with the “morality police.” People will dislike you because of your conviction. Sometimes it will be because of something you say, or just because of your joy (seriously).
Whatever the reason, pray for them, don’t engage in foolish arguments (says so in the Bible), and be comfortable being the sower and not the reaper. All you can do is show up and share love and truth. God will reap the seeds according to his plan.
Let Jesus do the saving
Speaking of God’s plan, that’s why we’re doing this at all. I fear that for many of us, we become so driven to share the church with those lost sheep that we forget we’re sheep too.
Instead of approaching these moments of daily challenges as a time to say, “Okay how can I save this person?” also use them introspectively.
Ask yourself, “As I minister to this person, as I live the truth of the Church, what can I also learn?”
The Lord has led this person to you for a reason, and maybe that reason is an opportunity for you to grow in your spirituality as well.
Rely on the grace of God
Above all else, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Be filled with prayer and grace, and let the Holy Spirit speak through you in all things.
While not all of us are called to serve publicly or profoundly, we’re all called to daily evangelization.
As always, praying for you, readers!
Erin is a Catholic writer living on the windy plains of Kansas. She loves reading, dark chocolate, sunflowers, and learning to cook.