Evangelization is one of those topics that has gotten a bad rap in this modern era. It’s easy to envision someone in a polyester suit and a megachurch on Sunday morning television, or someone going door-to-door asking strangers if they are saved. I’m necessarily discounting either of those methods, but I am saying that it’s likely the way evangelization plays out in your own life will likely be a simpler and natural outgrowth of your everyday life.
First of all, it’s important to know that evangelization is the reason the Church exists and because you are baptized, you are a part of that! On the most basic level, Christ has made an impact on your life and whether He saved you from a life of deep sin in some dramatic way or you just feel all warm and cozy knowing He’s there, you should want to share it with someone!
Your primary mission field has a great deal to do with your vocation – you are parents or grandparents and may have a spouse. That is where God is calling you to put forth your best efforts right now:
- You bring your children to Mass
- You work on some kind of family prayer time
- You had them baptized
- You do Family Formation lessons with them
- (and many other faith-based things, I’m sure)
Of course, God is calling you to evangelize others as well and that will take a thousand different forms in your lifetime. You’ll know which direction God is calling you through prayer and being open to the Holy Spirit and whatever He puts in your path!
There are so many activities that go with this lesson – probably too many to do in a single sitting. But if February is anything like January was, weather-wise, there will be plenty of weekends and evenings where you’re stuck indoors looking for something to do. Try doing some of them outside your regularly scheduled lesson time. Each of these activities is designed to focus on a different aspect of the topic, so take a look at them all (or just continue reading this overview) and prioritize.
Building the Church: The idea behind this activity is that God’s Church is made up of all His people and no matter how many choose to be part of it now, there is ALWAYS room for more! Start with a bunch of popsicle sticks and write the name of every Christian you know on a stick (one per stick). Next, use the sticks to make some kind of church. Here’s the trick though: while you’re building, be sure to include plenty of blank sticks. The point is that no matter how many people are currently part of the Church, there is always room for more. In fact, it’s incomplete without them and it’s our job to invite them!
Make an Andrew List: For this activity, start with reading John 1:40. Saint Andrew was so excited to have found the Messiah, that the first thing he did was to tell the exciting news to his brother, Peter! Think about how you can follow his example and who you can tell. Then spend some time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give you the opportunity and words to use. Just an aside, but this is a great place to keep the My Growing In Holiness activity from last month going. Simply think of someone and make your prayers for them your February or March resolution.
Go Fish: This game teaches that every act of evangelization includes four players: the person hearing the message, the person delivering the message, Jesus who is always the subject of the message, and the Holy Spirit who is the mover and inspiration behind every act of evangelization, no matter how big or small. The game plays like Go Fish with the object being to collect one of each of these four cards in a particular color.
Each One Bring One: The craft part of this activity is to create one of those zig-zag, linked sets of paper dolls (do those have a particular name?), but the idea behind it is so much deeper! Going as far back as possible in your family history (even if that just means you start with yourself), talk about the Christian influences that have influenced you today. Was it a Grandma who always brought you to Mass, or a neighbor who was so kind, or the parent who prayed with you at bedtime? Everyone has stories and sometimes it’s the most ordinary influence which has had the greatest effect. Take some time to prepare by thinking about those people and then share the stories with your kids. At some point be sure to remind your kids that you are currently passing the Faith on to them and someday (maybe someday soon) they will be passing it on to someone else. Not only is it exciting to consider, but you want to make sure they catch the vision. You’ll want to be sure to do this one!
Jesus Knocking Prayer Card: I thought this activity deserved it’s own post. It’s coming up tomorrow!
Finally, we’ve included a handy bookmark that has ways to evangelize on one side and a prayer for evangelization on the other.