MVPs: Evangelists in Sheep’s Clothing?

I was recently talking to a co-worker and I characterized MVPs as evangelists, among other things. I got a very strong reaction - negative. I know full well this posting is going to rub some MVPs the wrong way – like petting a cat against the grain! However, I like stirring things up a bit to see what people really think or you can simply say I’m a glutton for punishment.

For whatever reason the words evangelism and evangelist, in the tech community, have been casted in a negative light.  But I happen to really like them to describe certain people in the SQL Server community, namely MVPs.

Merriam-Webster defines evangelist as an enthusiastic advocate. The Encarta World English Dictionary defines Evangelism as great enthusiasm, fervor or zeal for a particular cause.

Isn’t this a huge part of what MVPs are? After all why would they spend their own money traveling to conferences both big (SQL PASS) and small (SQL Saturday)? Why would they go on SQL Server themed cruises? Why would they spend as much time as they do blogging and answering questions on #sqlhelp?

I’ve said here before I believe MVPs do a fantastic and selfless job in the community. They are an incredibly important part of the community. Their technical and operational knowledge of the product is top notch. Their passion shines through on a daily basis.

Take the characterization as evangelist as a complement. That’s the way it’s intended.