Of course, evangelization is not as simple as that, but there is something about social activities that gets overlooked. Before we can preach the kerygma and before we begin to profess our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must establish a relationship of trust with people. In addition, this connection cannot be manufactured simply for the sake of “making a convert,” but rather must be the natural outgrowth of true friendship. There may be those exceptions in which people respond immediately to missionary efforts, but for most people it takes time and patience.
This is fundamentally the logic of the business-related golf outing. In business and in many other areas of human interaction, the good leaders learn that ideas and people must go hand in hand in order for something to work. Folks with a knack for discovering talent learn to read the entire person, and to pay attention to a lot more than just what someone says. In our evangelization efforts, people need time to “read us.” They need the opportunity to experience who we are and not just what we say.
This is why the party must be an essential component of parish life and evangelization efforts. In the spontaneous flow of relaxed and mutual fun, we get a sense of the entire person and develop bonds that go beyond getting the job done. Even when we are established in our Christian identity, casual conversation can often become the more profound avenue for insight and growth.
Along these lines, Christianity is not simply a religion of ideas and doctrines, but rather involves a deeper interiorization of a way of life. This is why Christianity must always be based on discipleship and communion because our spiritual maturity is the fruit of the concrete experience of God and life communicated from person to person. Thus, the saint communicates the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a contemplative presence, a concrete expression of peace and love that is the result of personal transformation. The saint has no fear of communicating the message of Jesus Christ because to know a saint is to know Jesus Christ.
Today, let us strive to throw good parties and to be saints!