Evangelism Initiatives

Everyday Adventures: The Rev. Dr. Patricia Lyons

Dog Park Evangelism
May 8, 2019

In spring 2018, the Evangelism Office of The Episcopal Church created the Episcopal Evangelists Facebook group. It was born from the desire to begin connecting evangelists - young and old, novice and experienced - across the Church. 

Here on the Evangelism blog, we will be sharing stories from the Facebook group—stories we think can help others in their ministry of sharing the Good News—and hearing their stories of Everyday Adventures. These stories can help others in their ministry of sharing the Good News. Each post begins with a personal testimony of Why Evangelism? followed by a story of evangelism from an everyday encounter. Today’s story comes from the Rev. Dr. Patricia Lyons.

Why Do You Practice Evangelism?

I want to join God in anything and everything God is doing in the world. I don’t want to work for God like some kind of nice boss. I want to live with God, now and forever. Evangelism is joining God in whatever God is doing in the world. It’s giving my life back to the God who made it and saying, “Speak through me,” so that the world can hear and see and experience a little more of God through my life. Evangelists are people who have joined their daily lives with God so that others might find joy and salvation in joining God too.

Tricia’s Story

Here is a story of unplanned and spontaneous evangelism involving a dog.

When you find yourself at the dog park and forgot the leash BUT you find the two-sided priest stole in your trunk that you got on Amazon for $10 for sacramental emergencies:Episcopal Evangelism Blog 

It was a great leash and 12 people asked me about it and wanted to talk about God.

“Are you using that church fabric ‘cause it’s Lent?” (then his wife asked him, “What’s Lent?”)

“....ours is a mutt, but...I haven’t gone to church in 20 years...”

“Here’s some good treats and what do you think about evolution?”

“I don’t go to church because I am gay.”

I spent an hour on the park bench talking with all different people about their experiences of Christianity. Whoa. (I was not at the local seminary dog park; I bet there would have been debate and gnashing of teeth over the appropriateness of my ad hoc leash)

Meanwhile, I will do this again. Best God conversations with the spiritual-but-not-religious in a long time.

Are You Game?

Our inviting God asks me every day if I am game to join God’s birthing, dancing, healing, reconciling and re-creating Spirit. In every day and in every Eucharist, I say yes.  Joining God brings meaning and purpose to my life and gives direction and vocation to both my virtues and vices. Joining God brings me good news, makes me good news, and shows the world good news.

Tricia Lyons is currently living and teaching about evangelism at Virginia Theological Seminary while finishing her latest book, What is Evangelism? (Church Publishing, Winter 2020).


How are you seeking, naming and celebrating Jesus’ loving presence and inviting other folks to discover that goodness for themselves? Tell us HERE! The Episcopal Evangelists Facebook group is a gathering space for Episcopal Evangelists to ask questions, share resources, and encourage each other around the practice of sharing the Good News. To that end, we respectfully ask that you limit your post here to questions, ideas, events, prayers, memes, links, and stories, that can help the wider church learn about and practice joyful and faithful evangelism! By providing a place to share stories, ask questions, and trade resources, we hope that the Episcopal Evangelists group will be a place of learning and growing together, as we share our gifts of imagination and experience and tell out the Gospel wherever we find ourselves.

CONTACT:
The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers 

Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care

CONTACT:
Jerusalem Greer 

Staff Officer for Evangelism

Tagged in: Evangelism Way of Love