by Glory Enyinnaya
At a Change Management seminar recently, I was struck by the similarities between the role of a Change Agent in a secular organization and the role of the Christian evangelist in the world. John Kotter, the world’s foremost authority on Change Management, has outlined the role of a Change Agent in an organization and I’d like to draw a parallel with the role a Christian evangelist is expected to play in the world.
- 1: BUILD A SENSE OF URGENCY
A Christian evangelist must be able to articulate the futility of a life focused only on the temporal affairs of a passing world. He should be able to attractively present the benefits of living a supernatural life in such a way as to jolt the unconverted out of his complacency. Only when people recognize the need for change will they accept the good news of Christ.
- 2: CREATE A VISION
A Christian evangelist should be able to describe the overarching goal of the Christian life. The current trend among Pentecostal churches is to set material prosperity as the goal of the Christian life. Nothing could be further from the truth. The true vision of the Christian life is the Beatific Vision – the vision of GOD in His glory, for all eternity. If the Beatific Vision is the end of the Christian life, then the means is holiness – love of God and love of neighbor. The achievement of this mission – holiness – should be customized by each individual, and tailored to his particular strengths, opportunities, resources and state in life.
- 3: CREATE A CHANGE INFRASTRUCTURE
Christ established His Church to spearhead the changes in the world. At a more granular level, there are Dioceses and parishes to attend to the day-to-day needs of the Christian faithful. At this stage, the Christian evangelist should introduce the new disciple to his local parish catechist for formal integration into the community.
- 4: COMMUNICATE THE CHANGE
The Christian evangelist needs to follow the steps of the greatest evangelist – Jesus Christ – by using metaphors, analogies and examples to drive home the message of the Kingdom of God. He also needs to be consistent in his message. As a role model and the ‘’face’’ of the church, the Christian evangelist needs to be above reproach. He must practice what he preaches and live the values he proposes. Finally, he should be responsive to the questions and feedback of his target audience.
- 5: FACILITATE ACTION:
The Christian evangelist must communicate the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a Sacrament which keeps the new disciple accountable. As the new disciple begins to engage in new behaviors, the Sacrament of Reconciliation supplies graces and removes obstacles which may hinder progress in the Christian life.
- 6: GENERATE SHORT-TERM WINS:
For the Christian evangelist, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the new disciple provides evidence that his sacrifices are worthwhile. The Holy Spirit helps the new disciple fine-tune his vision and strategies. He builds momentum and rewards the believer with gifts and talents. In some cases, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by physical miracles and the amelioration of illnesses.
- 7: MOTIVATE PEOPLE
The Christian evangelist needs to make the new disciple feel needed by giving him responsibility for outcomes. The new disciple should be made responsible for an activity or ministry in the parish.
- 8: EMBED CHANGES:
The Christian evangelist can consider his work successful when the culture of the new disciple has shifted. Standards of behavior, rules of work, values and the ‘’ways things are done’’ should change. When the new disciple’s actions have been altered, when the new behavior produces improvement in his relationship with God and others, then the Christian evangelist’s work is complete.