At the beginning of the Impact Mission’s 11-week program entitled “Courageous Catholic”, I wasn’t too keen on helping out. Courageous Catholic (CC) is an 11-week faith study for individuals who are actively involved with their parish. It offers practical training and inspiring teaching to engage them in the work of evangelization. It will equip them with powerful tools to be missionary in their sphere of influence. This will be done by teaching them about the church’s missionary identity, to help them identify opportunities for evangelization, and the practical tools to carry it out. The hope is that the course will act as a catalyst in transforming their ministry and inspiring them to bring others into the joy of knowing and loving God.
I was asked to help by being a small group leader. While the course sounded lovely and necessary for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, I really had envisioned spending my Tuesday evening doing something other than chatting with older adults, most the same age or older than my mom and dad. I was actually quite bitter that I wasn’t going to be doing what I wanted to do.
I would say that my mind changed last Tuesday. I was at a table with 6 older ladies, probably close to or well into their 60’s. They were actually quite a pleasant group, and all seemed to ‘get’ the message that CCO was trying to convey – to bring others back into ‘the church’ through evangelization. I put ‘the church’ into quotations because I don’t literally mean the building, but into a relationship with Jesus and the rest of his followers, which often times leads individuals into the pews of an actual church. They all seemed quite depressed that they have adult children and young grandchildren that have no interest in church, with the youngsters not even know who God is. They were all at a loss, unable to think of a way to reach their kids. They turned to me, and asked how I got to be where I am now. I shared with them how when I was in my first year of university, I met someone from CCO and they invited me to take a faith study. Through the faith study, I learned clear and simply what the Gospel message was. I also met other people who were very interested in faith, but also in living out an authentic Christian life. I had never known people who were so genuinely interested in me, my story, the state of my heart, and encouraging me to be the best I could be. Needless to say, it was contagious and here I am 4 years later very actively involved in living out my faith.
They were all very interested in these faith studies I spoke of. I offered to tell them more about them, and if they were interested, I could teach them how to lead one. They all accepted, and on Tuesday night, 1 hour before CC started, we met and I shared with them how to teach the first lesson of the Discovery faith study. As I was with them, I was having very strong feelings that are hard to pin down. I was grateful that they were so open to learning, that they were so concerned for the spiritual welfare of their kids, and that I was helping them to think of new ways to reach out. Even though I haven’t been doing this ‘missionary’ thing for very long, the branches of my tree are starting to spread out. By equipping these ladies to share the message, who knows who’s lives may be touched through them? What an amazing thought, that one by one, people are learning how to reach out to people.
So…what is this Gospel message, and how simple is it? On Tuesday, we learned what it is.
- We (humans) are created for a relationship with God
- This relationship is broken through our failures, weaknesses, when we ‘miss the mark’ (aka, sin)
- This relationship is restored through Jesus
- We can choose to live with God at the centre of our lives and claim this restored relationship by admitting that we mess up sometimes
Man. Is that easy or what? To be Christian, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to admit that you aren’t, and choose to live in a way that you try to consult God in every action, decision, and thought that you make.
They learned how to share this very simple message through the Ultimate Relationship booklet.