Evangelization really comes down to invitation and promise. After the Samaritan Woman encounters the Lord at the well, she returns to town and offers this invitation to anyone who has ears to listen: Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?Invitation: Come, See Promise: Messiah?
This summer I tagged along as my brother went to experience the wonders of In-n-Out Burger. He was told of the cleanliness, the quality and tastiness of the product, and the whole customer experience. Me? Well, offer me a burger and a shake, and I’m there.
The place was full. The staff was classically uniformed and quite courteous. And the burgers and shakes were great. We came. We saw. They lived up to their promise. And then came a surprise. While the store menu seemed simple, we were aware that others we eating things there that we could not find on the menu board. Turns out that there is <Spoiler Alert> not-so-secret-menu. We left California the next day, but knew where our next burger was coming from when we got back. And I happy to share my experience with others… I became an In-n-Out Burger Evangelist.
Evangelization (and darn good marketing), therefore, might be about invitation, promise, and more. Pope Francis states it like this: I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” The Joy of the Gospel (No. 3)
How do our young people experience that from our programming? How do parents experience that when they support young people attending our programming? How does the parish experience that when it opts to engage in youth ministry? And when kids are gracious enough to bring friends… how do these honored guests experience it?