Sometimes, when leaning into the discomfort of a new concept or idea, the best way to get started is to say yes, and do something small. While we’ve talked about the basic principles of evangelization, why we should all say yes to sharing our faith, and small things we can do in our prayer lives to emphasize a connection with God, we haven’t really talked about anything concrete that we can do to share our faith.
Some people feel comfortable speaking in public; some feel comfortable going door-to-door; some feel comfortable chatting in one-on-one settings. But what if any kind of direct interaction with evangelization feels nerve-wracking? It makes a lot of sense that evangelization sometimes feels scary and foreign (unfortunately, long-time Catholic culture — “pay, pray, and obey” — encourages this). There’s good news though! You don’t have to jump right into public preaching or faith-sharing. Taking baby steps are the best way to get comfortable in discomfort.
What if evangelization looked like wearing a t-shirt or hat with Catholic messaging on it? Or reading a faith-centered book in public? What if evangelization looked like putting a sticker on your car, laptop, water bottle? What if evangelization looked like listening to worship music in the car with the windows rolled down, jamming out to Switchfoot or Hillsong United (If you don’t know what this, come to our Electric Mass on Sundays at 5 p.m.)? What if evangelization looked like adding a quote from a pope or a Catholic saint to the end of your email signature?
Evangelization does look like all of these things. Evangelization can, and does, often start with a small, visible action. Catholics like to use Saint Francis’s quote on evangelization (preaching the gospel at all times, using words only when necessary) to excuse us from the practice. But doing one of these small actions might cause someone to ask you a question, wherein words do become necessary as we attempt to answer the question to the best of our ability. Saint Francis, then, is actually inviting us to take agency over the spreading of our faith, starting with a small (verbal or non-verbal) action, and then encouraging us to step beyond that a bit as we can.
I share music playlists with friends; sometimes I add worship music to them. I have a sticker on my water bottle that says “the greatest good is what we do for one another,” a Mother Teresa quote. I got the sticker from a prayer group on my college campus — one of my friends asked me about the sticker, was interested, and came to the group’s next service event with me.
At a retreat once, I did a really interesting activity. Laid out on the ground were three massive, concentric circles. The center circle was “the comfort zone,” the middle circle “the learning zone,” and the outer circle “the panic zone.” The leaders read off a series of statements, and we were asked to visually rate our comfort within these circles. Evangelization, for many of us, might feel like it’s in the panic zone. Let’s start small together, working our own ways into the panic zone, and maybe, just maybe into the comfort zone.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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