You and I know something very important that many people don’t know. God loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son, Jesus, in order to redeem us from our sins and restore our relationship with Him. Wow! This is the Good News that Jesus commanded each of us as His disciples to spread throughout the whole world. But if you are like me, you struggle with finding the right time and the right words to share this message with family and friends, not to mention people you do not know very well. Now I think I have found an effective way to share the Good News.
Last year, as the Parish Council of St. Benedict the Abbot Church was developing our new Pastoral Plan, we decided that we needed to find a program that would enable us to respond to Pope Francis' call to take part in the New Evangelization. We also concluded that to be effective in reaching and retaining those who are not coming to church and partaking in the Eucharistic banquet, we also need to reenergize those already in the pews on Sundays.
Some friends had told me about an evangelical program called ChristLifethat was effective in drawing people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I volunteered to go to a ChristLife training conference to learn more about it and see if it would be the right program for our parish.
The conference was held on a Friday evening and Saturday. We sat at tables of 8 or 10, like you would during the actual ChristLife program. The program has three segments called Discovering Christ, Following Christ and Sharing Christ. In each segment you meet one evening per week for seven consecutive weeks and have a one day retreat on the Saturday following the fifth evening meeting. Each evening begins with a prayer, dinner, a video and then discussion among the people at your table. You have the same people at your table throughout the program.
The conference I attended was on Discovering Christ. There was some prayer and worship, short presentations and videos, followed by discussion among the people at each table. The talks did not focus on the doctrine of the Church, but simply on the basic Gospel message of God’s love for us and our relationship with Him. This is a program for everyone -married couples, singles, young, old, deeply committed Christians and those who have never encountered Christ before.
Within a very short time, I knew that the ChristLife program would be a tremendous vehicle for sharing the Gospel and I became excited about bringing it to my parish. However, it takes a core team of 8 to 10 people to get the program started and I was the only one there from my parish. Several other parishes had a group of people who attended the training together and by Saturday afternoon they were talking about how soon they could begin the ChristLife program. I wished that there were others from my parish that I could share my excitement with.
In theory, with the purchase of the ChristLife materials, I could have trained others at my parish to form a core team. But, I don’t think that watching the videos and reading the manuals would generate the enthusiasm I felt from attending the training conference. So, instead, I recruited people from my parish to attend the next ChristLife training conference that will be held in June at St. Thomas More Parish. We will then begin our preparations and our plan is to start the Discovering Christ program in October.
If you have an interest in going deeper in your relationship with Christ and helping others to do so too, ChristLife is a great program. On June 12 and 13, 2015, Catholic Men’s Fellowship is sponsoring a Discovering Christ Conference. Encourage others from your parish to attend with you. If your reaction is like the rest of us who have gone, you will want to be a part of the Discovering Christ program. And, if you have enough people to form your core team, you will be able to begin preparations for the program as soon as you wish.
We are so blessed to have a God who loves us and made it possible for us to have a personal and eternal relationship with Him! The ChristLife program gives us an easy way to share this Good News with family, friends and neighbors.