When we hear the word evangelization—admit it, that word scares us! “Just what is our Pope, our Church expecting us to do? We imagine going door to door as some other denominations do to evangelize. Really? I don’t know about you but that is not my cup of tea. So just how are we to “evangelize?”
Years ago we had Renew in our parish, and the word evangelization was spoken then. Well, what Jesus spoke to my heart to calm my fears, was to simply “Say the words that people need to hear.” In your everyday, every way contact with them. One suggestion that came was to use the greeting we give each other at Mass. “May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Reasons given, you are speaking the name of Jesus. You are saying a prayer for them in a hidden way, and it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to continue with further conversation should it be God’s timing to do so.
So I did, for months after being so inspired to do so. Most people simply responded with a smile, a puzzled look---but then there were the people whose eyes spoke volumes as they replied—“Oh, I really needed to hear that today.” That was the door opener for you to say, “Yeah, I know what you mean. But know that God keeps His Promises and is with you always. He will help you in every way. Just remember to pray and seek that help.” (Or something like that)
“Say the things the people need to hear.” We do not have to preach or sound preachy. We relate to them on the human level first and then as the door opens we bring God into the conversation. Sharing stories maybe of how He helped in a crisis of our own is a good way of doing that.
Later, to be more sensitive to others faiths, and non beliefs---I was given other opening remarks that opened the doors. Example of what is definitely the perfect opener---“I love your smile, it really looks good on you and blessed my day. Keep passing that smile around.” If the person does not have a smile, I have some fun by stopping and saying—“Oh wait, you have lost something.” As they start to look for the lost item, I continue—“You have misplaced your smile today, maybe here in your pocket.” By this time 99% of the time—a smile appears and the conversation continues as before—“I love that smile.”
Another door opener---“thank you for helping me and being my gift today, you have really blessed me.” (A comment for anyone who is waiting on you, anywhere you find that person.)
“Whoa, I know that look, is everything okay.” (Most everyone will respond to this for everyone loves to tell you their story, and everyone needs someone to listen to that story.)
Never waste an opportunity as you stand in line for something. Just start commenting on what is going on around you. If the person is ‘aging,’ since I too am older---I can say--- “It is not easy getting older, is it? Some ‘golden years.’ I like to think though, I am not older, I am closer.” (Always have a big smile ready, for closer to Heaven should make us smile.)
Essentially what the Holy Spirit has shown me is to care about the person that I encounter. Notice them, their looks and speak to them words that compliment, encourage, show concern, appreciation and compassion. We are being the greatest witness, when we are being the LOVE of Christ in all we say and do.
When you see a need—see what you can do to help that person in need. Little needs equal little seeds. God never asks us to do more of us then we can do. The Bible was written one word at a time. The most effective way to evangelize is one little word at a time, and one little look, one little action of showing God’s love.
“When I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, homeless,”—includes physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Remember—“Little needs---little seeds---and little words along with the look of compassion and understanding.”
Go forth among the people and SMILE People, SMILE. The Missionary Field in wide open--on the streets we travel everyday.