Evangelization and New Media

Evangelization and New Media

The continued emergence of new media keeps adding fresh spins on the commission to preach the gospel.

Though this is not a new realization for many, it was a message that was rekindled in me during the 2011 Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City, Kansas, at the beginning of the month. Not only was the conference spiritually enriching, there were some dynamite guests and keynote speakers present (such as Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, Seàn Patrick Lovett of Vatican Radio, and CatholicMom.com Lisa Hendey). All brought inspirational lessons pertinent to ANY Catholic Christians who dabble in social media—not just those who work in Catholic communications or ministry. It really made me stop and think about the awesome power of tools like Facebook and Twitter that we casually use every day!

Sr. Anne Flanagan addresses the crowd

At the conference, Nunblogger Sr. Anne Flanagan, F.S.P., opened her talk with a thought-provoking haiku:

“Go teach my gospel.
We have all been commissioned.
What is the next step?”

The next step is realizing that God doesn’t call the equipped—he equips the called, which is all of us! (This from Pat Gohn, another presenter at the conference.)

We are all on the same team, working toward the same goal.

At the conference, Catholic publishers sat side by side and heard the message the Jesus’ brand is love, and that there is no market share when it comes to evangelization. We are all here to help—and support—each other in getting the Good News out.

Too often people get caught up in the glory of social media, and the latest and greatest gadgets that come with it (i.e., the newest iPad, iPhone, etc.). It can be very easy to get distracted (and obsessed) with the number of friends, or fans, or followers one has. As was pointed out, though, evangelization isn’t a numbers game, nor is its success defined as immediately attracting large audiences—it is the organic growth of the Church built on individual relationships with Christ.

This leads to one of the greatest lessons I took away from the conference: only after you foster your personal relationship with Christ, will you see the fruits of your work. The Eternal Word will never fade; technology, however, will come and go.

Working in Catholic communications is a blessing, but you don’t have to work for a publishing company to spread the Good News. We are all called, and we have all been commissioned. After all, “what good is it to have a magnificent instrument, but not put it to magnificent use?”—Greg Willits, upcoming Servant Books author and co-host with his wife, Jennifer, of “The Catholics Next Door.”

Suggested reading: The New Evangelization

All photos by s.maentz / Featured photo description: Seàn Patrick Lovett addressing the crowd


About the Author

Lindsey Simmons is the publicity, social and digital media manager at Franciscan Media. An animal lover, she shares her home with her rescue cat and dog. She’s a member of St. Gertrude Parish in Madeira, OH, where she’s served on the Stewardship Committee and with the young adult group.
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  • http://twitter.com/inspiredangela Angela Santana

    Glad to read your reflection, Lindsey. Thanks for sharing, and may the Holy Spirit guide your work in the digital continent.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much, Angela! God bless!

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  • Jclem413

    Hi Lindsey,
    Good to meet you at the CNMC.  Great reflections on what was an inspirational weekend with faith and prayer in meeting so many super people in Catholic New Media.  Big Fan of American Catholic Radio and website–keep up the good work.  We finally have a 3rd Order Franciscan group starting at my parish and hope to join.

    God Bless,
    John Clem
    Ambassador, http://www.wordonfire.org
    Blog: http://www.calltoholiness.us

    • Anonymous

      Hi, John! Great to meet you, too, and I enjoyed talking with you about Word on Fire. What a great ministry and I love Fr. Robert Barron! Wishing you many blessings with the 3rd Order Franciscan group! God bless! :)

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  • http://marccardaronella.com Marc Cardaronella

    Nice reflection Lindsey. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you there. Maybe next year. 😉 

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Mark! Yes–sorry I didn’t get to meet you. Next year in Dallas! :)

  • Amanda

    Hi there Linds!
    Enjoyed reading your fresh blog! This is Amanda Evinger (Vaalburg) from AUgusta (now in North Dakota, married with two adorable babies). I have been hoping to get in touch with you and see how you are. Please email me. amanda@marccard:disqus catholicsteward.com–believe it or not, I am still writing for CSC, and sending out my work elsewhere. Just sent a short story to your magazine. Love you so much, AManda


    • Anonymous

      Hi, Amanda! I was SO thrilled to get a call from you today! It’s been way too long and I’ve missed you! I can’t wait to catch up and hear all about your babies and your life! I will give you a call later today! Can’t wait! :) Much love, Lindsey