All of us has been hearing certain words and phrases in the church these past few years: Intentional Discipleship, New Evangelization, Missionary Discipleship. Even in our diocese we have been talking about our mutually shared vision of being Christ Led, Christ Fed, and Hope Filled.
These words and phrases are all wonderful, hopeful and looking to a future of a Church that reaches out beyond the doors of our individual parishes and ministries. But how do we get beyond the buzzwords and slogans and actually become missionary or intentional disciples? How can we encounter Christ, follow him and share the good news of Jesus life, death and resurrection with others?
This week's resource is a wonderful new book by Kevin Cotter entitled Called: Becoming an Everyday Disciple in a Post-Christian World, published by Ave Maria Press. This is a book of short daily reading followed by reflection questions to help each of us go beyond the theories, ideas and buzzwords and take small practical steps to encountering and following Christ and then introduce others to him, so that they, in turn, can encounter, follow Christ and then share him with their friends and neighbors.
Each of the five weeks examine different aspects of the discipleship process:
Week 1 helps us understand what discipleship entails,
Week 2 looks at what it takes to become a disciple in practice. How do we follow Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life?
Week 3 looks at the vision of evangelization. Why should we evangelize? How will people react?
Week 4 covers how we need to equip ourselves to reach our post-modern and post-Christian culture and what Jesus and the Saints have to teach us on this mandate.
The last week looks at how we not only create new disciples who follow Christ, but new disciples who then go out to make disciples, thus exponentially growing our faith community.
Some ideas for how to use this book:
This book is good as a book to read and work through on your own, but ideally, it should be read and discussed with a friend or a small group. Each day covers three-to-five pages of very readable text covering a single topic, followed by reflection questions and suggestions for putting the teaching into practice. These questions could easily become prompts for discussions and sharing in small groups. It is by sharing and discussion that we deepen our friendship with Christ, his Church and the small group of people with whom we share. This book can lead us to form actual community and deep, lasting friendships.
Lent starts March 6!
The book is divided into 35 days. Although not a Lenten themed book it would easily fit into a lenten process of drawing closer to Jesus, encountering him anew each day and follow in his footsteps to be truly Christ Led, Christ Fed and Hope Filled. Perhaps get together with a few friends, get together for a simple supper once or twice a week, and share what struck you about that week's reading.