Evangelization has been a dirty word in Catholic circles for too long, maybe because so many Catholics haven’t seen it done well. Here’s a book that helps us re-imagine how we do evangelization…and maybe even make it fun.
by Susan Windley-Daoust
Ugh…that word! People immediately think of soapboxes, megaphones, door to door missionaries, and more.
And yet—we need to share the good news. Because Jesus told us to, and because we see people leaving the Church, sometimes our family and friends, and because the world has never needed God more.
And we want to share the good news. We aren’t trying to sell a broken used car; this is the Gospel of Life! Jesus Christ is the center of so many of our lives, our meaning and our hope. We want to share him with others without feeling awkward.
Evangelization is feeling increasingly urgent for many Catholics. What if we could retrieve the original meaning of the word evangelization and remember that it is a transformative, joyful, life-changing opportunity?
I have worked with many parishes in my job as a diocesan director of missionary discipleship, and before I took on that role, I spent twenty years as a professor of theology teaching people studying for pastoral ministry. And if all that experience has taught me anything, it’s that Catholics of the past century have almost never seen good evangelization, so even when people want to share the Good News, they simply don’t know how. It’s impossible to do what we have not seen. So, step #1: Pray. (That’s always step #1.) Step #2: Visualize it. How?
101 Ways to Evangelize: Ideas for Helping Fearless, Fearful and Flummoxed Catholics Share the Good News of Jesus Christ is a little booklet that briefly describes the joy of evangelization and helps you see 101 ways to propose an encounter with Jesus Christ. Some are easy. Some are involved. All are possible. One may change a person’s life.
Becoming an evangelizing parish and a missionary disciple requires thinking outside our box and being a little creative. How do we follow in the footsteps of the first apostles and share the goodness of God in our own time and place? This booklet will help. Don’t be afraid! As Pope Francis says, the gospel is our joy, not our burden. Once you see what evangelization really looks like, you may discover a great joy you have been missing.