An evangelist composing a blog post
An evangelist composing a blog post

EVANGELIST: “(1) A person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching; (1.1) A layperson engaged in Christian missionary work; (1.2) A zealous advocate of something: he is an evangelist of junk bonds.” – OxfordDictionaries.com

Last month, Lexicide explored the follies of platform atheism, so for balance’s sake, February’s word is evangelist. This is not really a lexicide, as a technology evangelist is actually a “bringer of good news,” at least in the eyes of his employer.

That’s what evangelist means, from the Greek eu (good) + angelion (messenger, the same root that gives us angel), which is why it was originally applied to the writers of the four Gospels (literally, god-spell, Old English for “good news”). Apple coined the term and gave the title to Mike Boich and Guy Kawasaki. Soon, every forward-thinking company had its evangelist, which explains (or signifies) the religious fervor with which companies worship their brands.

What’s interesting to us is the construction of Oxford Dictionaries’ definition above. Not only is secular evangelism acknowledged as a lexical child of Christian evangelism, but one can be an evangelist for things of questionable worth (in this case, junk bonds).

Don’t hold your breath for companies to create an office of dysvangelism, however – that would be quite a heresy. Perhaps one day, corporations will have creeds instead of mission statements. In the meantime, our evangelists are going and making customers of all markets. It’s how you earn the Great Commission, you know.

Otto E. Mezzo

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