The Order of Evangelization | October 26

Click here to read the daily readings from the USCCB website.

There's an interesting theory in ministry about the different aspects of a faith well lived and how they intereact with and lead to each other. It has been suggested that in the past, an faith came about in this way: first, belief in the tenets of faith, second, belief leads one to behave in such a way that reflects those beliefs, and finally, such behavior allows for belonging in a faith community. Thus, the progression was believe, behave, belong.

In this day and age, this no longer seems to hold true. Rather we see a different ordering. First, people are brought to belong, and then it is in the love and belonging they experience in a friend or faith community that they come to believe. Finally their behavior follows suit. As such, many believe that the best path to evangelization has become "Belong -> Believe -> Behave."

Today's first reading talks all about the behavior. If you're in a place where you believe, like the Ephesians, that Jesus is the Son of God who lived, suffered, died, and rose for the salvation of the world, then this list is for you. This reading isn't optional, and it also isn't easy. As believers, we must behave according to our belief.

But if you're trying to invite a friend to know the love of Jesus, start with belonging and not behavior. Make that person feel loved, and then tell them the story of how you've been loved by the Love from heaven. Foster friendship with that person and don't shy away from sharing the name of Jesus. And then, when the time comes, encourage them to follow you in their lifestyle as the Ephesians followed Paul. 

None of this is so say that calling people to repentence isn't important. Paul says, "Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient." Repentence is an integral part to conversion, but I encourage you to be mindful of the timing. You (and I) need to repent now, so that we can walk the walk and talk the talk as we invite others into this beautiful life as well.


-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization