Here's just a small sampling of the new evangelization projects we've developed over the years.
LayEvangelist Parish Missions
Parish Missions for the rest of us...
"That ONE Thing" parish mission is changing hearts and minds all over the country. Originally written for my own parish, this mission has been adapted into numerous forms to meet the needs of different groups: the standard 3-day mission, a weekend retreat for high school students, a 1-day retreat for RCIA candidates, and more.
This parish mission was inspired by Sherry Weddell's Forming Intentional Disciples, in particular, the chapter dealing with repentance. A Greek Orthodox priest mentioned how he rarely preached or talked about repentance. I realized that I've never done that. I helped form and instruct people on how to make a good confession, but never really explicitly explored the area of helping people repent.
"That ONE Thing" is built around helping Catholics repent. Talk One brings people into confrontation with any false image or view they have of God the Father, in particular, that thing we call "Catholic guilt." Rooted and grounded in the endless mercy of God from the first talk, the second talk leads people into repentance by asking them one question: What is that one thing- sin, wound, label, or fear- that is keeping you from a better relationship with God. Pastors have been shocked at how deep confessions go after this portion. The final talk hones in on two things: how to I stay free of that one thing, and how do I get involved in my faith.
Evangelism and Discipleship training
Every parish needs to get out of maintenance mode and into mission. We are losing 4 times as many adults than those that enter the Church every year. That's because we've taken our eyes off of the Gospel and put it on "Catholic Identity" or some other version of cultural Christianity. We have parishioners who are in the Church but are not of the Church, and that is dangerous. LayEvangelist staff retreats and discipleship training brings us all back to the central missionary mandate of the Church, "Go, therefore, and make disciples!"
Training and teaching is available for both staff and volunteers. One of the most effective forms of training is for the pastor to take his staff out for an off-site meeting. We pray, we break bread, and we discuss the new evangelization in the context of their own parish and community. We look at what it means to have the gospel at the center of our schedules, events, and planning. We ask hard questions, like, "What do we need to stop doing?" and give staff room to say what they really think. Pastors find this time to be invaluable for thinking through the new evangelization in their parish's context.
Theology of the Body
My hero, St. Pope John Paul II, countered the materialism of our present age not with negative rants filled with condemnation, but with the power of the Gospel and the affirmation of the human person. "Human love in the Divine Plan" is the core of the Theology of the Body.
I have taught this as a one hour presentation, a day long workshop, or a week long seminar. I have taught this to adults, parish staff, clergy, high school youth, college students, at marriage enrichment ministries, and for parent education.
One big reason why otherwise good Catholics dissent from the Church's teaching on sexual morality is because they might know the conclusions, but they never understood the reasoning behind it. They had the what but never the why concerning contraception or pornography. JP2 gave us that why in a resounding, magnificent, affirming way that can bring about conversion.
You can find free audio of our our TOB Week on my SoundCloud account.