How Evangelization Works: The Lord’s Dynamic
“A proclamation of the Good News of Christ proclaimed to the world and the Church, in such a way as to elicit, to draw forward an affirmative response from the hearer, so that the Holy Spirit can take over and transform the person who is hearing it to say ‘yes’ to Christ. It is something that you and I start and that God finishes. It is the power of God going to work and doing what God does best: capturing a human heart for Himself, causing someone to fall in love with Him, which is what He wants. That’s what evangelization is.” (Fr. Bob Bedard)
- Proclamation of the Word - what we do.
- The response of the hearer - what the hearer does.
- The work of God - which transforms and changes.
“Faith comes through hearing…” (Rom 10:17)
Evangelization requires an explicitly spoken word; it is not just ‘good example’.
Example: Evangelization in the Classroom - “I went back into the classroom, prayed up a storm, listened to the Lord, and felt he was giving me 5 key scriptures. I began using them day after day with my students, repeating each one and explaining it.”
- “If you seek me with all your heart, I will allow you to find me.” (Jer 29:13)
- “Commit your life to the Lord. Trust in him, and he will act.” (Ps 37:5)
- “To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
- “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will but open the door, I will come in, sit down at table and have supper with him.” (Rev 3:20)
- “Draw close to God and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8)
One of Fr. Bob’s students came to talk about a problem his sister was having. “He told [Fr. Bob] he had been praying about it, had not seen the Lord get involved in it as yet, but, he said, he had a sense the Lord was going to do something about it soon.” This floored Fr. Bob, who asked if he’d always had this kind of faith. The young man replied: ‘Oh, no, Father! In grade eleven, I packed it in altogether. I decided that religion was just a myth, a bunch of garbage. I quit praying and going to church, the whole bit. But I heard you say in class when we started this year that if we weren’t sure of God, we should give him a chance to convince us he was there and cared about us. So, every night before I went to bed, I started to say, ‘Lord, if you’re real, show me!’ Before long, he showed me. Now, I know.’” (Fr. Bob Bedard, Evangelization: A Challenge for the Catholic Church, pp. 21-22)