If we want to show the entire world the love of Christ, we must begin one soul at a time. We can try to reach the masses, when possible, but we are much less likely to have an impact this way. Often times, it is our personal one-on-one encounters that truly bring change in people’s lives.
Spend a Sunday morning watching television (before or after Mass, of course), and you will find televangelists bringing people to Christ by the hundreds. They are spiritually responsible for thousands of souls – similar to the priests in our local dioceses. They are men called to shepherd their flock. We expect our local priests, then, to be converting souls by the hundreds – just like the televangelists.
Our priests do such a wonderful job that we often let them do most of the work. Of course, right? They do have a degree in theology. They have been called to this special mission. Shouldn’t they be the ones reaching out to the world?
Yes and no. Yes, priests, like all of us, are called to preach the Gospel, but they are one soul in a large community. Meanwhile, we are the community. We may not have a degree in theology, but we have the ability to reach into our communities in ways that our priests cannot. Our personal relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and fellow students allow us to touch so many lives.
We expect our priests to convert the masses from the pulpit, but we are missing one key ingredient: a crowd for them to convert. It begins one soul at a time.
Listen to most conversion stories, and you will find that most of them include key people that helped to bring the change. Yet those people are not always priests. Frequently, close friends and loved ones make the first impact.
In my own personal story, my sister and her husband were a consistent influence on my life. When my wife first entered my life, she made a huge imprint, as well. It was their effect on me, before I even met a priest, that was the catalyst that I needed.
The impact my loved ones had on me did not happen because of their abilities to preach the Gospel. Not one of them ever quoted Scripture to me. Instead, it was the personal interactions I had with them, one on one, that opened my heart.
Our passion for evangelization leads us to a soapbox – we want to share our faith from the tallest stages. Truthfully, our greatest evangelistic work is done in the most unexpected places: a hospital bedside, a restaurant, the line at the DMV, while helping to change someone’s tire, or at a funeral.
We do not need a stage to preach the Gospel; it can happen right here, right now. Evangelizing is about seizing the moment, an opportunity to share the faith, when the right moment comes. Our goal should be to reach the masses, but it happens one soul at a time.
Copyright © 2012, Chad R. Torgerson