Evangelism is the practice of spreading the Christian belief in salvation. Mission refers to the idea of missionary work, where Christians travel to an area to provide aid or education. Missionary work often includes an element of evangelism.
Missionary work involves Christians travelling abroad to evangelise. This is not always done through preaching. Often, evangelism involves Christians showing what it means to live a good Christian life through helping those in need. Missionary work began with Jesus’ disciples. After Jesus’ death, Saint Peter began following Jesus’ instructions to spread his teachings, and began converting people to Christianity in the area around Palestine. Saint Paul was another crucial figure in spreading Christianity as he travelled to the Mediterranean. Today, Catholics continue trying to spread Christianity in order to help the Church grow.
Evangelical work can be performed both locally and across the world. International evangelism is usually referred to as missionary work.
On a local level, Catholic Churches are linked together and meet to discuss how to raise awareness of Catholic teachings. Individual churches may fund projects in their local area to spread God’s word.
On a global level, many Churches will fund projects enabling young people to travel abroad and get involved with missionary work. There may also be opportunities to establish links with Catholic churches in other countries.
The Great Commission refers to the direct instruction Jesus gave to his disciples to spread his teachings. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus says:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.Mark 16: 15-16
Evangelii Gaudium states:
A Church which ‘goes forth’ is a Church whose doors are open (Chapter 5). This could suggest that evangelical work is about welcoming people of all backgrounds.
Not all Christians agree that evangelism and missionary work are important parts of their religious belief. Some view them as potentially negative, as it can be considered a form of discrimination to try to convert people of other religions.