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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

Evangelizing Young People

Yeah. Donna in North Royalton, Ohio, What's the best way to reach out to our young adults to keep them in the Catholic Church or to bring them back to the church?

I think Christianity has always been about attraction and and less so about promotion. I think we we think about these things. We easily go into promotion phase. And I think it's important to stay in attraction phrase. What is it that attracts people to a community? Well, it's the people. It's the way the people relate with each other. It's it's the energy among the people, you know.

So what is it about the people in your community that is attracting or repelling people? We don't like to talk about that, but the reality is there are some groups of people that you find repellent. It's important to recognize that because some people find us repellent, but they spend time with us. We think, oh, that person drained my energy or that group of people drained my energy. And then as a church community, I think it's very important for us to ask, what is the energy of the church community? Is it insular?

Is it is it very self connected and self-referential or is it reaching out? Is it is it constantly inviting people in? Because I think people pick up on that very quickly when they walk through the doors of your church. And the reality is this. New people walk through the doors of your church every Sunday and they don't come through the doors of your church with a big sign of them. Say that says this is the first time I've walked through the doors of this church.

But you've got that one chance to really win them in a powerful way, because if not a very good chance, following Sunday, they're going to be at another church down the street. Yes, I think that's related very closely to the question that Rosemary in Charlottesville, Pennsylvania, has. When you're trying to make a parish dynamic, what are two things that you believe are the most important to do with that welcoming hospitality? One of those would be something different. I think it really is.

I think it's definitely one of the things people don't go places where they don't feel welcome. People spend time with people. They enjoy being around. And so I think that's critically important. I think the other piece is when we talk a lot about here, you know, the first line from the book, the first signs of done dynamic Catholic is at the heart of God's plan for the world is transforming people one at a time. And yes, we want to have a dynamic parish, but we have to understand that God doesn't transform parishes.

He transforms people one at a time. And so if we look at our parish, we say we want to parish to grow. We want our parish to be more vibrant. We want to have a dynamic parish. We have to understand that if you put enough dynamic Catholics in a parish, it will become a dynamic parish. It has no choice, OK? And so we have to focus our activities on these trigger moments for individuals, for transforming people wanted to time. And the reason we avoid that is because there's great accountability in that.

What we like to do is say, OK, we're going to do this event for the whole parish, but we don't really know who shows up or who experiences or who who it transforms. Transforming people one at a time is at the heart of God's plan for the world, the how to God's plan for transforming your parish into a dynamic parish.

Matthew Kelly

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