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 […]

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 […]

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