Everyday Evangelization: Make Proclaiming the Good News a New Year’s Resolution

Too often, we think of evangelization as something done by either professionals or fanatics. We can’t see ourselves going door-to-door or walking up to people and asking them if they’ve been saved or have encountered Christ. But there are other ways of evangelizing in our everyday lives. In my book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ, I talk about a evangelizing strategy that I refer to as “spiritual residue”—leaving traces […]

Parent Sacramental Prep and Evangelization Videos

Even before the pandemic hit, many catechetical ministers were reimagining their approaches to faith formation, with an eye toward a greater emphasis on evangelization. Of the many opportunities available to us to evangelize, one prominent one is parent sacramental preparation gatherings. Recently, I was asked by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to put together three videos on the topic of sacramental preparation as an opportunity for evangelization with an emphasis on First […]

The Process of Evangelization in the New Directory for Catechesis

This is part three of a four-part series on the new Directory for Catechesis. Understanding the process of evangelization is critical for all those engaged in ministry. But before we examine the process of evangelization (which is covered in paragraphs #31–#37 in the new Directory for Catechesis), let’s take a look at how evangelization is defined. What is evangelization? Evangelization is “making present and announcing Jesus Christ.” (#29) The ultimate aim of evangelization is nothing […]

Professional Development Workshop: Reclaiming the Fire

In her book, Start with Jesus, friend, 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.” Faith formation programs can provide the spark needed to ignite this blaze! In a new, free professional development workshop, Reclaiming the Fire: Six Keys to Making Our Faith Formation More Evangelizing—which can be found below—I offer […]

Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 9: Empower Disciples to Evangelize

Welcome to the final installment of our summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith. Strategy #9: Empower disciples to evangelize. Hardly anyone purchases anything online these days without first reading the customer reviews. Satisfied customers are eager to leave glowing reviews, which often include personal stories about how they have successfully used a product or resource in their own situation, in hopes that others in similar […]

Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 6: Invite, Invite, Invite!

As we continue our summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith, we come to strategy #6. Strategy #6: Invite, invite, invite! Ultimately, an advertisement is an invitation; after presenting all the information about their amazing product or service, the sponsors invite potential customers to join “other satisfied customers.” They then provide a phone number, a website address, and convenient locations so that potential customers can avoid being left out. […]

Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 5: Proclaim the Resurrection as the Cause of Our Joy

As we continue our summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith, we come to strategy #5. Strategy #5: Proclaim the Resurrection as the cause of our joy. One of the most often-used phrases in TV commercials is, “But wait, there’s more!” Just when you think you’ve heard it all and that it can’t get any better, the seller doubles down and tells you that it’s about to get […]

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 […]

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