A couple of weeks ago at Teen CROSS I was telling the teens how everything can be related to the Gospel, and I mean absolutely everything. I told them to come up with something, it didn’t matter whether it was an activity, object or person, everything can be related to the Gospel. They came up with skiing. I then asked for their input on how it related to the Gospel. They came up with; “it’s like the Gospel because you have to climb a long way to get to the top,” it’s full of twists and turns, there are lots of obstacles on the path and it takes practice to master,” “at the end is a beautiful view,” and a few others. They were rather impressed with themselves.
The lesson they learned is an important one not only for them but for us as well. Spreading the Gospel is something we are all called to do yet few of us feel prepared to do so. I would say that this most often stems from an incorrect understanding of what it takes to spread the Gospel. Many of us have this image in our mind of a missionary in a foreign country telling people for the first time about the Lord. Being that this is something most people don’t feel called to they think they can’t spread the Gospel. But this is constrictive of an understanding.
For the most part the Gospel is spread, as it was in the early church, by actions of people who believe in Christ. I told the teens that you don’t even need to talk about Jesus in order to be successful, in fact in our culture sometimes talking about Jesus can actually turn people away because they have some form of preconceived notion of Christians trying to impose their faith on everyone else. We are much more successful by talking about what people enjoy and then in time tying it to the faith. Eventually they will ask you about your faith and then you can bring up the name of the one you love.
All you need to do is notice and respect what people like and be prepared to talk about your journey of faith when they ask. This second part is important, telling your own story is more productive than all the apologetics in the world, because conversion is what sparks others to convert; Jesus was a person not a set of beliefs. So how is bowling like the kingdom of God? I leave that to you, along with the composition and telling of your story as well.
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen