Pope Francis Has Called Us to Dream Big for the Church

“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capa- ble of transforming everything so that the church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis calls for a ‘missionary op- tion.’ In other words, he wants the Church to look outward and to reach beyond herself, as she seeks to bring Christ to the world. Eve- ry day, we see signs of pain and immense suffering even in places where we used to find comfort. We are also bearing witness to the new life and new possibilities that God offers us in the death and resurrection of His Son, which is why we must always turn and re- turn to Jesus Christ, as He tells us, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6

Through our personal encounters with Jesus in His community of disciples and His Church, will we find healing, forgiveness, and pos- sibilities for new life that God offers us.

How Did We Get Here?

Every generation experiences challenges in faith and in this day and age, secularism has seemed to push God out of the picture, forcing us to focus on popular imagination. Secu- lar culture leads us to think that all we have is ourselves and this moment and has also led to breakdowns of family life, respect for life, and a whole host of social ills. We need healing and redemption in Jesus Christ now more than ever.

Models of Evangelization and Parish Life Need to Change

Today, many people do not know Jesus Christ and often reject Him and His Church without knowing who He really is. Even many believ- ers in the Church have a weak sense of who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him as a disciple. We cannot assume that faith will automatically be handed on to a new generation. We must proclaim the Gospel in new ways.

Those Who Leave Are Seeking Christ

People leaving the Church do not leave because of a desire for a different doctrine or teaching, but for a more vibrant community of believers who are living out their faith in tangible ways.

Four Reasons Catholics Left the Church

  1. Never experienced a profound and intense encounter with Je- sus Christ
  2. Did not have presence of meaningful community life
  3. Unmet desire for biblical & doctrinal formation that brings spiritual growth
  4. Seeking missionary commitment that moves Church members from the pews to go out.