Authentic Evangelizers: You Don’t Have to Become Flanders!

I’m still interested in hearing more suggestions about how kids can evangelize (in the spirit of St. Paul) in practical everyday ways…see my post from yesterday.

We have to find ways of helping kids to be authentic evangelizers and Christian witnesses. One thing they fear greatly is being stereotyped. They don’t want to be viewed as a type of “Flanders” – the character from The Simpsons who (along with his kids Rod and Todd) is the ultimate caricature of an overbearing sickly sweet (albeit sincere) Christian.

Kids want and need to be authentic.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on Authentic Evangelizers: You Don’t Have to Become Flanders!

  1. Joe-

    To draw a distinction between Catholic understandings of evangelization and other understandings of evangelizing (like the Ned Flanders caricature), perhaps you could break your ideas into three categories, using the three goals that the US bishops give for evangelization in the United States in their document “Go and make disciples”:

    Goal I: To bring about in all Catholics such an enthusiasm for their faith that, in living their faith in Jesus, they freely share it with others.
    [Ideas for kids to become more excited and enthused about their own faith]

    Goal II: To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic faith [Ideas for kids to share their faith with others]

    Goal III: To foster gospel values in our society, promoting the dignity of the human person, the importance of the family, and the common good of our society, so that our nation may continue to be transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ
    [Ideas for kids to work for justice, to engage in charity, to engage in service]

    Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States, at:

  2. Justin, this is very helpful…thanks so much. This is a very good document and I think it can provide a good structure for practical strategizing.

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