One day St. Francis of Assisi invited a young monk to join him on a trip into town to preach. The young monk was so honored to get such an invitation from St. Francis that he quickly accepted. All day long he and St. Francis walked through the streets and byways, alleys and suburbs, and they rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people.
At the end of the day the two headed back home however, not even once had St. Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. The young monk was greatly disappointed, and he said to St. Francis, “I thought we were going into town to preach?” St. Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We were seen by many and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!”
In today’s world the word evangelism has become a despised and dirty word. I feel that is because we have confused evangelism with marketing. When we market something it is our goal to get the target audience to “buy” our product. For us to achieve that goal, we try to convince the audience that they are dissatisfied with the present product. When Christianity is marketed to the world, it becomes no better than a Wal Mart commercial or an infomercial. No wonder people consider evangelism a bad word.
Francis of Assisi gives us an alternative. He says, “No use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!” That is the real goal of evangelism. We must become the “good news” for all that we touch. They are watching and waiting to see and hear from God. The world yearns for good because there is so much bad.