Consider this… Increasing our faith

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an evangelization conference in Chicago. The conference focused on a program called Alpha. As I learned more about this evangelization program one of the things that struck me was that by sharing faith, we increase our own faith. Yep, read that one again. When we talk about our faith with others, we actually increase our own faith as well.

Here are some interesting facts:

1.)  One in two young people will drift from their faith.

2.)  50% of young teens today believe actions can speak as a way to explain their faith

3.)  55% of non-Christian teens want Christians to live their faith publicly, without fear

4.)  One in two young people are interested in learning about faith

5.)  85% of teens were more confident in their own faith after sharing a faith conversation with a non – Christian

6.)  65% were eager to share their faith again after a faith conversation

These statistics speak primarily about our young church, but this also translates to all of us! When we speak about our faith it gives us the confidence to continue the conversation and grow. When it comes to conversation it’s important to know that conversation has many levels. The six levels of conversation are ways in which we can grow deeper in our ability to share faith and build relationship.

1.)  Casual conversation – keep it simple, how are things going.

2.)  Meaningful conversation – diving a little deeper in a conversation, what’s important

3.)  Spiritual – talking about faith and faith traditions

4.)  Decision to follow Jesus – sharing why following Jesus is important to you

5.)  Maturity – sharing how being a disciple is life giving and transformative

6.)  Leadership – empowering others to take a role in making other disciples

In having a faith conversation, it is important to know that you can’t jump around in the development of a faith conversation. You can’t begin with #4 in the six levels of conversation and expect someone to respond. What is most important is the progression of conversation. This means we have to build relationship with the ‘other’. Only then can our conversations go deeper, and they need to go in the order mentioned above.

As our theme this year for our parish in preparation for our 175th anniversary is ‘The impact of Discipleship’. From this conference it is clear that the impact of discipleship is seen in our faith conversations that we have with one another, and in how we act in our world. Never discount your ability to help shape someone else’s relationship with Jesus by what you say and do.

Lastly, stay tuned, our parish is going to learn more about Alpha and the ways in which we can evangelize.

Keep Smiling,

Fr. Bryan