Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 3: Proclaim Jesus’ Mighty Deeds

As we continue our summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith (drawing from my new book of the same name), we move on to strategy #3. Strategy #3: Proclaim Jesus’ mighty deeds. Many ads and TV commercials include a claim about the product or resource being sold, followed by testimonials from satisfied customers, and finally an invitation to potential customers to “find out what _____ can do for you!” This strategy […]

What a Team! Speaking in the Arena at L.A. Congress

One of my favorite phrases at Loyola Press—”What a team!”—can be traced to our president emeritus, Fr. George Lane, SJ, who often reacted to success stories in this manner. This phrase captures the experience I shared earlier this year with a group of talented colleagues at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. If you’re not familiar with the L.A. Congress, it is the largest religious education gathering in the country, drawing about 25,000 people over four […]

Creating a Climate of Encounter in Faith Formation

Today, more than ever, we are keenly aware of the term climate because of the issue of climate change. Climate refers to the prevailing weather conditions in a region over a long period of time. In a climate-controlled environment, we can control those conditions (heat, humidity, barometric pressure, etc.) to suit our purposes, such as growing plants and flowers in a greenhouse. A faith formation environment must be “climate-controlled,” not so much in terms of temperature—although we definitely […]

Start with Jesus in Your Parish

Serving parishes in her diocese as the Director of New Evangelization, Julianne Stanz has recognized a practical and motivational way to restructure a parish’s mission: start with Jesus. To help you do that, Julianne’s book Start with Jesus is about people, process, and culture, rather than an emphasis on quick fixes or unsustainable efforts. Embrace discipleship in your parish by reading the book and using the additional resources that accompany it: implementation tools for parish […]

Reclaiming the Fire: Six Keys to Making Our Faith Formation More Evangelizing

Today, more than ever, faith formation needs to be more evangelizing—not only informing, but also transforming hearts and minds. In her book, Start with Jesus, author, speaker, and evangelist Julianne Stanz states that “too often our approach to our faith lacks the fire or energy that it deserves,” and she issues a call for us to “reclaim the fire.” With that in mind, I have identified six keys to reclaiming this fire so that our […]

A More Evangelizing Catechesis: What It Means and How to Achieve It

We catechists are constantly bombarded with words and phrases (e.g. divine pedagogy, missionary discipleship, evangelizing catechesis) that are intended to inspire our ministry but often leave us scratching our heads with regards to what they mean in practical terms and how we are to translate these concepts into actual strategies in our faith formation settings. One such phrase, as mentioned above, is evangelizing catechesis. Personally, I am convinced that we desperately need a more evangelizing […]

Recruiting Catechists Who Evangelize (Video)

Finding catechists who are evangelizers and see themselves as such is the key to a faith formation process that forms disciples. The below video highlights five aspects of the process using the word GIFTS. Read the complete article that inspired this video: Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS. Take a moment and ask yourself: does every activity in my parish point more deeply to Jesus? Julianne Stanz wants to help you and your […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist (Video)

The below video introduces nine strategies we learn from the kerygma—the first proclamation of the Gospel by the Apostles to people who had not yet encountered Christ—that we can use in our faith formation to be more evangelizing catechists. For details on these strategies, read the “How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist” series here.

Storytelling (Video)

Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. How can we get in touch with our stories of faith? Watch this video introduction to the topic. Read the post that inspired this video: Sharing Stories of Faith. Sharing the Wisdom of Time is a collection of stories about elders from around the world. From over 30 countries, elders share their wisdom carved from lifetimes of experience.

The Power of Witness and Appropriate Self-Disclosure in Faith Formation

St. Paul VI once wrote, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi) As someone who recently transitioned from youth minister to third-grade teacher at a Catholic school, I’ve been seeking a balance between my identities of witness and teacher in order to bring my students closer to Jesus. I have been on too many retreats where “witness […]

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