Evangelization. As Jesus’ followers, we are called to share the Gospel message with others.
“Go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
I will be real with you all. The idea of evangelization terrifies me. There are so many friends in my life who aren’t Christians, and I truly do want them to experience the peace and joy that comes with having a relationship with God. However, I’m weary of bringing up the subject of faith because I don’t want to come off as preachy and make it appear as if I know all things about religion. I don’t. I have so many questions that I need to work out myself, but I believe there is a God who created this world and that he sent Jesus as a living sacrifice for our sins. For a long time, I have been praying for God to help me be brave in sharing the Gospel with others, but I have still been uncomfortable with the idea.
However, I was talking to some of my friends the other day, and they gave me some encouragement that I would love to share with you. They opened my eyes to a few key ideas. One, evangelization is not solely a verbal recitation of the Gospel to someone. In fact, when you look at Jesus in the Gospel, sure he preached, but he also spent so much time in community–building relationships, serving, and loving every member in society. Jesus spread the Gospel through both his words and actions. For such a long time, I had never considered my actions as a way to evangelize, but now I realize that for me, the best way to spread the Gospel is to live the Gospel.
If I go around preaching Gospel messages to love one another, to treat others with dignity and respect, or to put others above oneself, but my actions don’t correlate with my words, people won’t be receptive of Christianity. They will just see that I’m a hypocrite. However, if I live my life with love, peace, patience (all those good fruits of the spirit), maybe my friends or coworkers will notice that I try to live my life differently. That could lead to questions about why I live my life the way I do, which could open up a conversation about faith.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that evangelization varies from person to person. It may involve words or actions, but is not the door-to-door preaching image that I once had in my mind. The final thing I realized by talking with my friends is that my job as a disciple is spread the Gospel message. The process of conversion, however, is up to God. I don’t have the power to convert anyone; that is God’s power.
I hope that this is a little bit of encouragement for any of you who also have people in your life who are either not religious or Christian that you want to share the Gospel message with. I’m just trying to evangelize like Jesus did. Be friends with them. Build trust with them. Love them. That is the gospel, folks.
Lots of love,