100 Ways to Be a Missionary Without Leaving Your Home Town

After last week’s post on how every Christian is called to be a missionary, my friend Jenna asked me to get specific. What does it mean to be a missionary in everyday life? So I started brainstorming and here’s what I came up with: 100 ways to evangelize right where you are. While missionaries aren’t just evangelists, I feel like I pretty well covered the service and justice aspect of Christianity in the pro-life post. So I’m sticking primarily with things that are more directly about preaching the Gospel, but all those pro-life practices are ways to be a missionary too.

Not all of these tips will work for all of you. Some types of evangelization take a certain personality. Some will be helpful only with particular individuals (37, 45, 74) while others are more universally applicable (12, 68, 72). Remember: nobody is a project. Treat every person as a child of God, never as the object of a strategy, and you’ll be off to a good start.

100 ways to be a missionary

  1. Fall in love with Jesus.
  2. Take your children to daily Mass.
  3. Offer to help someone with small children at Mass.
  4. Pray before you eat–especially in public.
  5. Blog about your faith.
  6. Sponsor a child and write her letters.
  7. Adopt a child.
  8. Invite someone to go to confession with you–offer to take him to dinner afterwards to sweeten the deal.
  9. Read the Catechism. The whole thing.
  10. Take your baby to visit the residents at a nursing home.
  11. Sign up for a holy hour in the middle of your prime social time. Then when you leave the bar or the football game to head off to pray, invite people to join you. You’ll be amazed what happens.
  12. Call someone who’s hurting.
  13. Take a picnic lunch to an area with a large homeless population.
  14. Santa Monica evangelizationDo some street evangelization.
  15. Invite your priest over for dinner. Community strengthens them for their ministry.
  16. Celebrate your kids’ feast days and baptismal anniversaries. Make their memories of being Catholic joyful celebrations.
  17. Share a Bible verse on Twitter.
  18. Have your wedding in a beautiful Church with incredible, transcendent music. Your non-Catholic guests will be struck by a stunning liturgy.1
  19. Get a Christian tattoo that isn’t ugly or weird.
  20. Invite college students living far from home to spend Sunday dinner with your family.
  21. Start a Bible study at Starbucks.
  22. Abstain from meat on Fridays (you have to fast in some way anyway) and don’t be afraid to mention it when people are picking a restaurant.
  23. Ask your brother why he stopped going to Church.
  24. Beg for grace.
  25. Tell your coworker about God.
  26. “Do it with gentleness and reverence.”2
  27. Help at youth group.
  28. Be a brilliant scientist.
  29. Don’t respond to suffering with platitudes.
  30. Do your daily Bible reading on your commute. It gives your neighbor an opportunity to ask.
  31. beggar NilesWhen catching up with a friend, ask “How can I pray for you?”
  32. Step outside your comfort zone.
  33. Dress as a Saint for Halloween, but don’t be lame about it. Kendra will show you how.3
  34. Listen to your children.
  35. Smile more.
  36. Cross yourself when you pass a church.
  37. If you know someone who’s sitting on the fence, be frank. Ask them if you can have 15 minutes to present a case for the Church.
  38. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know.
  39. Bake cookies for prisoners.
  40. Pay the toll for the person behind you. Ask the toll booth attendant to tell him you said, “Have a blessed day.”
  41. Offer to go door to door inviting people to church.
  42. Wear a beautiful piece of religious jewelry. When people compliment you on it, take it as an invitation to give a quick testimony.
  43. Tell people about the Saint of the day.
  44. Weep with those who weep.
  45. Take a friend to an art museum. Hit up the Renaissance section and explain what’s going on with all the Saints and Bible scenes. Think of all the catechesis!
  46. Call a friend out on unchristian behavior.
  47. Go to confession.
  48. Introduce yourself to people you see at church.
  49. Learn to pray extemporaneously.
  50. Invite a fellow parishioner to dinner.
  51. When a friend is suffering, have a Mass said for him.
  52. Change your language–say “God bless you” instead of “Bless you,” “Praise God” instead of “Thank God.” See if it doesn’t start some interesting conversations.
  53. Don’t judge.
  54. Captain of Team CatholicDon’t take yourself too seriously.
  55. Read Catechism 2125.4 Don’t be a jerk.
  56. Fast and pray for missionaries.
  57. Buy a dozen copies of your favorite Christian book. (I recommend these novels, these books on apologetics, and these spirituality books.) Give them away.
  58. Invite someone to Mass.
  59. “Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them.”5
  60. Dress modestly but look awesome.
  61. Have friends who aren’t Christian. Don’t try to convert them. Just love them.
  62. Make beautiful Christian art–poetry, photography, music, sculpture. Give glory to God and draw hearts to him.
  63. Never use apologetics as a weapon. If you get angry, take a step back.
  64. Ask someone to pray for you–even if she’s not the type who would offer.
  65. When you receive communion, act like you really believe, like you’re really in love. Your attitude will touch people around you and you’ll find your faith strengthened. It’s more about living what you believe even when you don’t feel it than it is about faking it, and the more you live it, the more you’ll feel it.
  66. Take a friend out for a beer. Hang out. Just be friends.
  67. Bear wrongs patiently.
  68. Ask people’s forgiveness.
  69. When you find yourself judging someone for not being Christian/Catholic or not being a “good” Christian/Catholic, make a list of five things about that person that make her a better person than you.
  70. Remember that you can’t know the state of anyone’s soul.6
  71. Have friends over for a movie night, but show Bella or For Greater Glory.
  72. “Live a life of such love so as to be a reason to believe.”7
  73. Give your godchildren (and nieces and nephews and young friends) good Christian books.8
  74. Give away CDs by your favorite Christian artists–I recommend Danielle Rose and Jimmy Needham.
  75. Be completely present to everyone who’s talking to you.
  76. Memorize Bible verses about God’s mercy and love.9
  77. Volunteer to be an RCIA sponsor.
  78. Catholic parenting: you're doing it right.

    Catholic parenting: you’re doing it right.

    Tell your kids stories about the Saints–find real heroes to be their role models, not that Disney nonsense.

  79. Love people where they are.
  80. Put beautiful sacred art up in your house.
  81. Put beautiful secular art up in your house. Listen to good secular music, read good secular fiction. In the world but not of it, friends.
  82. Study philosophy.
  83. Share powerful Christian articles on Facebook. Don’t share lame or cheesy stuff.
  84. Be a sponsor couple for marriage prep.
  85. Do things you don’t expect to like to show people you’re willing to be open-minded too.
  86. Donate to a Catholic Campus Ministry program–they do some incredible things.
  87. When bringing non-Catholics to Mass, explain to them beforehand why they can’t receive. Be delicate.
  88. Refuse to let awkwardness stand in your way.
  89. Don’t act like your life is perfect with Christ–be real about your struggles.
  90. Be real about the joy too.
  91. Talk as much about Jesus as you do about your favorite team or band.
  92. Take a family rosary walk around the neighborhood on Sunday evenings. Evangelize your kids and your neighbors at the same time.
  93. Start a real hospitality ministry at your parish–have small dinner parties that you invite new parishioners to and build some real community.
  94. It’s easy sometimes to win an argument and lose a soul. Don’t be afraid to back down when it becomes more about winning and less about truth and love.
  95. Don’t be a hypocrite.
  96. Pray for non-believers.
  97. Pray more than you talk.
  98. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in you.
  99. Remember that you don’t have all the answers.
  100. Pray, love, then get out of the way.

Announce the Gospel

  1. My friend Beth recently did this and I bet you there are people whose trip across the Tiber started that day. []
  2. 1 Pt 3:16 []
  3. Fun fact: I was about to write pretty much that exact blog post with ways to dress as a Saint but be awesome about it–you know, St. Peter Martyr with a hatchet in his head, a Holy Soul with flames licking at your feet, mummy/Lazarus, a princess, a knight, St. Lucy with your eyes gouged out. But then I googled to see if there was a picture online of anybody ever dressed as St. Denis (carrying your mitred head under your arm–awesome!!) and I found that Kendra had done it dramatically better than I was going to. []
  4. Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion. []
  5. Eph 4:29 []
  6. CCC 847: This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. []
  7. Danielle Rose lyrics. []
  8. Want to see what I get my godchildren? Check out my Pinterest board, but be aware that my oldest godchild is six…. []
  9. Mt 11:28-30, Jn 16:33, Sgs 4:7, Is 49:13-16, Rom 5:8, John 14:18…. []

About Meg

I'm a Catholic, madly in love with the Lord, His Word, His Bride the Church, and especially His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. I'm committed to the Church not because I was raised this way but because the Lord has drawn my heart and convicted my reason. After 2 degrees in theology and 5 years in the classroom, I quit my 9-5 to follow Christ more literally. Since May of 2012, I've been a hobo for Christ; I live out of my car and travel the country speaking to youth and adults, giving retreats, blogging, and trying to rock the world for Jesus.
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9 Responses to 100 Ways to Be a Missionary Without Leaving Your Home Town

  1. Beth Staab says:

    Meg – love this post….and not only because of your comment about my wedding! I can only hope that it touched some people’s hearts that day.

  2. Molly says:

    Love love love the parts about being friends…never pushing anything. It’s a sure example of preaching the Gospels without necessarily using words! Great list!!

  3. Kendra says:

    Thanks Meg!

    These are all awesome, but I especially like 60 and 88. And 94, can we add “even in the combox” to that one?

    Keep up the good work!
    Kendra recently posted…Baby Steps to Living the Liturgical Year as a FamilyMy Profile

  4. Deanne says:

    I love that you linked number 7 to the story of a child in foster care!!! I am a foster/adoptive mother of 4 right now. I believe with all that I have that we as the church should be caring for these kids. You rock….my prayers are with you!

  5. Peggy says:

    Hi Meg! I found your blog from another blog and I am loving it. This is a great list. I never thought that you could be a missionary in your home town. Glad you posted this list.

  6. I have to apologize that it took me so long to get to this! Anyway, I want to thank you so much for doing this. And, I want you to know, I am in the process of making myself a little bucket list. I have “Complete Meg’s Lists” on my list. So, this and the pro-life one are on there 😉

    Again, thanks so much! This is truly awesome!
    Jenna@CallHerHappy recently posted…How Busy Moms Get Their Creative On {Project DIY Review & Giveaway}My Profile

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