To be able to get involved in the harvest in the Lord’s vineyard, we need to be involved in the beginning, in the selection and in the planting of the seed. And, of course, we must continue our involvement in the growth process – giving nourishment, encouraging the young vines to grow, training the vine in the right way so it will be able to receive the right amount of sunlight and rain, removing the weeds as soon as they show their presence in the vineyard, etc. But even before selection and planting of the seed, the gardener (that’s us) needs to have personally the basic knowledge and experience in the entire process of tending the vineyard.
In the BCBP this is evangelism in action. We, as the gardeners, need to have experienced personally the evangelization process that involves the continuing transformation of our hearts and our lives, a transformation and growth that bring us into and unite us with the Body of Christ, the Church. True evangelization, true spiritual growth must always lead to communion with Christ in the Church.
As a BCBP member, we ask, “Isn’t this what our BCBP mission is all about?” Evangelism is not the same as ‘mission’. Evangelism is the renewal of our hearts and the sharing of our renewed faith with others. Mission is the way we do it. Evangelization includes mission, but mission may not always include evangelization. The BCBP’s Mission Statement directs the creation of the vineyard itself – a support environment and a body of Christian business people and professionals with the goal of transforming the marketplace by Gospel Values. This transformation process is evangelism, and this process produces the harvest.
There are many ways that we, as BCBP members, may get involved in the harvest, depending on our talents, our time, our willingness to step out of our comfort zones, the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and our desire and determination to work in the Lord’s vineyard that for the BCBP is the marketplace. We share with you 20 ways to get you started on your training as an effective gardener in the Lord’s vineyard.
1. Pray. Ask God to show you one person you can impact for Christ. Make a commitment before the Lord to spend time with that person and to pray every day for him or her.
2. Participate. Get involved in activities where you meet people on a regular basis, especially in your workplace.
3. Volunteer. Get involved in your local school. Help with community projects and reach-outs. Look for opportunities to develop friendships with both non-Christians and Christians-in-name-only.
4. Socialize. Have a neighbor over for dinner or to watch an inspiring TV program. Look for common interests. Invite your officemate for lunch.
5. Celebrate. Take advantage of holidays to include those you are or intend to evangelize in your activities and traditions, especially those liturgical celebrations in your parish.
6. Invite. Watch for special concerts, seminars, or speakers who might interest your friends. Invite them to a BCBP breakfast.
7. Serve. Talk to your chapter head about your gifts and talents and find out how you can best use them in the ministries of the BCBP community. Find out how you can serve in your parish, too.
8. Support. Find a missionary (or charity) to support financially, in prayer, and with letters of encouragement.
9. Praise. Give the Lord the credit for the blessings in your life in the presence of others. Acknowledge His help in difficult times.
10. Empathize. Look for opportunities to draw alongside people who are hurting.
11. Evaluate. Check your motives. Are you seeking your own glory, or are you motivated by love for God and for the lost, the suffering, those who have less in life?
12. Intercede. Pray regularly for the unbelievers you know and for ministries that are actively seeking to reach out to others in need.
13. Encourage. Uplift your fellow laborers with words of encouragement. Be gentle and understanding with others’ faults or failures.
14. Be available. Don’t get so overextended that you are unable to respond to the Spirit’s prompting to minister to a friend when needs arise. Remember that our Lord treasures more our availability than our ability. If we are available, He will provide the ability.
15. Be holy. Live a life above reproach. Others should see the fruit of the Spirit in your life. As Fr. Herb puts is: Walk your talk!
16. Be transparent. Don’t try to be something you are not. Throw away your masks. Admit your own struggles and share how the Lord is working in your life to help you grow.
17. Be accountable. Seek out a friend, perhaps a member in your action group, you can pray with each week. Pray together for the people you are trying to reach. Share your experiences.
18. Persevere. Don’t get discouraged when people don’t respond right away. Leave the results to the Lord. And keep on inviting them to the BCBP breakfasts…
19. LOVE. Ask the Lord to give you the same love for your friends that He has. Do everything in love, with love, and for the love of God.
20. Begin now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Now, right this moment, is the best time to start.