What it is; and...
Why missionary discipleship
will never happen without it
Christians have the ultimate NSP.
What is greater than introducing people to the saving person and work of Jesus Christ?
In my experience, evangelization - missionary discipleship, or the practical competence of “selling the gospel” - is a particular weakness of ours. Few church-going Catholics can even define evanglization, let alone do it. This is an unacceptable situation, one which Pope Francis is calling us to change.
Thankfully for this young woman and her clients, none of that happened. Instead, inspired by a true NSP, she was driven to grow and improve, growing in competence and skill and eventually becoming the company’s highest performer - helping them profit while improving lives for others.
Imagine the Implications for Missionary Discipleship
Christians have the ultimate “drug.” Jesus heals and saves. He makes lives better and happier. His saving gaze makes life begin again. He cures the sickness of sin and sadness and despair, he breathes a wholesome new spirit into our heart, he makes us sing a new song. He satisfies the infinite longing. Where, then, is our NSP?
Imagine what the church - and the world - might look like if Christians became as convinced about their “product” as that young saleswoman did about hers. Imagine well-informed, competent, skilled disciples “selling” their gospel, their Lord, with the urgent and loving conviction that the young saleswoman sold her medicine. Imagine the possibilities!
That young saleswoman’s NSP was born from an encounter: a real person witnessed to the positive effects of her product, and made a believer out of her, the seller.
Christians need a similar encounter to regain - or perhaps, simply gain - the NSP that can light the fire of evangelical purpose and zeal. Too many Christians are not yet convinced of the sweet benefit of Christ for them, let alone for others. For Christians, our “product” is not a what, but a Who - a person. We “sell” a relationship,” not a thing. Our "sales purpose" involves leading others into the saving relationship with Jesus that we ourselves have experienced.
The Christian NSP = Born From The Encounter With Jesus
Pope Francis says, “Being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus.” (Homily at Assisi, 10-4-13) Everything starts with the experience of the loving gaze of the crucified Jesus, he says: “the experience of transforming grace, the experience of being loved for no merits of our own, in spite of our being sinners.” He elsewhere insists that an encounter is a start, but even that is not enough: the church needs to become a “culture of encounter,” where such experience becomes repeatable and consistent, embodied in forms and structures made visible, accessible, and appealing to all.
The church needs to be like that waiting room where the young saleswoman’s NSP was born: that place where the fruits of the gospel’s effective medicine are proclaimed with joy and received with fervor; that place where people are saying, “I tried this medicine, and it healed my wounds. It has made me well. Thank you!” This is where Christian NSP born, where evangelizing is born, where mission is born.
Core Competencies of the Missionary Disciple - A five-part series.