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Presence Evangelism

April 30, AD2014 7 Comments

\"Melanie

I call the new movement of God Presence Evangelism, because it is quiet, subtle and entirely grassroots. The stars have fallen. The big names have grown old. Society is weary of huge, dazzling Christian shows.  People crave reality. They do not respond to the evangelism of the 20th century. Of course God is working through new technology as well, but He is also using His little ones in a new way.

Evangelism has gone through many stages to reach the place we are today. Up until the late 60s, evangelists were mainly preachers of the Word. In the Protestant camp, Billy Graham shone the brightest, while for Catholics,the first name that pops into my head as an example is Archbishop Fulton Sheen and his radio program, The Catholc Hour. These men focused on an evangelism of the Word, preaching a  sermon with the purpose of convincing people to repent, change and commit their lives to God.

The primary way the Holy Spirit touched people in large crowds in the 70s, 80s and 90s was through power evangelism. Rather than preaching long sermons, the evangelists who drew the largest crowds were prophets and healers. The Spirit fell in a tangible way. This was not restricted to the Protestants. The Catholics experienced their own Charismatic Renewal with crowds of 30,000 gathering in Rome in the mid 70s. I remember one Catholic Charismatic Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where 10,000 people sang gently, harmoniously in tongues like angels, and I am sure with angels. Organizers allowed the Holy Spirit to move gently among the crowd, healing physically and emotionally.

Now the Spirit of God is moving among the grassroots. It is an entirely different kind of evangelism, or perhaps it is old time Catholic evangelism. It is the time for the little people to shine. God is chosing humble, ordinary people who have suffered and lived obscure lives faithful to Him, and allowed Him to purify and mold them into His presence. Such men and women attract others who are hungry for God, because people sense the love and power of God in them. There is no room for pride or ego, because it is all about God saving them in their littleness.

For example, three years ago I was stranded for 10 hours in an airport with an East-German archaeologist. He spoke of his work and I shared funny stories about living with nine kids. I did not preach. Suddenly he asked, “What is it about you? You are the most powerful person I have ever met.”

He shocked me. Sure, I felt that God and His joy was bubbling up within me, but I had not prayed for or healed this man. I simply made him laugh.

However we were both aware of a power flowing around us even though he was an East German atheist! It was tangible. This is Presence Evangelism. God does all the work. We simply relax and watch. There is no room for ego or pride, because it is all about God, not us.

 © 2014. Melanie Jean Juneau. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Melanie Jean Juneau is a petite wife, writer and mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. When the words "The Joy of Mothering on a Hobby Farm" popped into her head as a subtitle for her short stories, it was like an epiphany for her because those few words verbalized her experience living with little people.The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life, especially a life lived in God.

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  • james

    Wow !!! Yes, this is how those in love with God infect other people. I too had a similiar
    experiance and it took a very wise empathetic person to point out just what you said.
    Sitting in the middle of Boston common away from passerbys we chatted about the
    interconnectivess of life and love and slow but sure people began gravitating to where
    we sat to say hello, make a mundane comment with obvious esprit and engage us for
    no apparent reason. My friend said ” See Jim, this is how God draws people” through other people who perceive an aura of welcome and peace. Strangers who have no
    fear of engaging strangers based solely on eminating vibes. Thanks for the memory.

    • melanie jean juneau

      This is the Incarnation in action. Your description of how God uses his people to touch others is exactly what i am talking about. I really should add your comment to my article.

  • LivingCatholic

    Melanie, I love your description of what is happening with in our Church. I think many of us are feeling it and moving in response to the prompting. I know this is true in my own small parish. We are realizing what we want (a genuine intimate relationship with Christ that transforms our personal, parish and community life!) and finding ways to make it happen. We are seeking and creating ways to satisfy our hunger for community full of love for God and spreading the experience to others. Ellen Marie Dumer, Bel Air, MD

    • melanie jean juneau

      perfect description-’a genuine intimate relationship with Christ that transforms our personal, parish and community life!’

  • David Peters

    Melanie, this is so true. I am one of those drawn to the Catholic Church by God’s presense. The Holy Spirit is also working in a powerful way through Pope Francis. I believe he will win many to the faith. God is also using media to draw people in, like Father Robert Barron on You Tube, and then of course there are Catholic bloggers that have a greater impact than they could ever realize. God bless!

    • melanie jean juneau

      you just helped me realize that it is also presence evangelism at work through modern technology

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