The Office of the New Evangelization facilitates a 8-session discussion workshop using the book “Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherry Weddell the purpose of which is to allow a group of active parishioners to explore what discipleship entails and how the Holy Spirit may be moving in their community to create a parish that becomes a center for forming disciples of Jesus Christ.
This is how the 8 sessions for Forming Intentional Disciples break down. It is recommended to meet every other week in order to allow people to read and process the material without rushing through it. Most participants in previous groups liked the every other week and felt that weekly would have been stressful.
Introduction - Introduction
Chapter 1 - God has no grandchildren (statistics ... who are these people, put faces to the
Chapter 2 - We don't know what normal is
Chapter 3 - Fruit of discipleship
Chapter 4 - Grace and the great quest
Session 3: the Passive modes
Chapter 5 - Trust
Chapter 6 - Curiosity
Session 4: Transition mode
Chapter 7 - Openness
Also start thinking/talking about what the group can do as a project …
Session 5: Active Modes
Chapter 8 - seeking and Discipleship
Chapter 9 - Break the Silence
Chapter 10 - the Great Story of Jesus
Chapter 11 - Personally encountering Jesus
Chapter 12 - Expect Conversion
Session 8: Wrap-up, dinner and holy hour, what are you going to do?
Each session is about 2 hours long with a short break: 1 hour and 20 minutes for a short presentation to the larger group and small group discussion, then a short break to get coffee and use the facilities and come back together for sharing in the bigger group. The entire 2 hours may not be needed each time but we found with previous groups that people really do get into the discussions and enjoy not being rushed.
This series of workshops is designed for people in your parish who are actively involved in the parish and who want to assist the parish to reach out to other parishioners and those who have fallen away. In the process of the small group discussions, the participants will brainstorming about what we can do for the various groups of people who are not yet disciples (for example, people who drop their kids off for Religious Ed, but don't really practice the faith; inactive Catholics; people who only come for special occasions et al.) It would also be helpful to have a few people who could act as facilitators at the tables in order to keep people on topic).
Around session 4, the group may want to start thinking about a project that the group can do as a team (for example in one parish, they invited registered parishioners who had not been to mass to come to Easter Sunday Mass and the group was a welcoming presence at the doors. It was a small project that allowed the group to see how small efforts can have great fruits.
The hope is that the participants will take the program and run it again for a new group of participants so that it becomes an ongoing process of forming disciples.
If you would be interested in this workshop for your parish (or for a group of parishes in your area), please contact Marika Donders at firstname.lastname@example.org.