It’s summertime – time for the pool, the sun, the family, and a good book! I’m sharing with you in this, my inaugural mccw.org blog post, a book on Catholicism that has transformed my life. For those of you who know me, you’ll not be surprised that the book is Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell. This book placed in me a sense of urgency to engage actively with the people sitting next to me in the parish pews (or on the floor with me in the church cry room), and to learn more about my faith so that I can grow as a disciple and more effectively evangelize.
Though I first read Forming Intentional Disciples nearly two years ago, I have re-read it several times since then. With each read, I learn something new or consider a topic through a different lens. This is one of the few books on my shelf that I have mercilessly dog-eared, scrawled in, and flagged with an unruly amount of post-it notes!
From this book, you will learn some sobering data about Catholicism. For example, only 30% of people raised Catholic are still practicing. You will learn that when people leave Catholicism, they do so because “their spiritual needs were not being met.” I often hear that lapsed Catholics join evangelical churches because they “want the entertainment of the praise and worship music.” My friends, get that thought out of your head! According to Sherry, people leave, by and large, because they did not feel like they had a personal relationship with Jesus within the Catholic Church. Really! Does this not make you want to cry? How is it that Catholics, who receive Jesus in the Eucharist at every Mass, do not believe they have a personal relationship with Jesus?
The answer lies in faith formation. Somehow, we Catholics have a generational gap in our faith formation. This book will call your faith community back to the foundation of reaching out to the seekers and disciples in your pews to grow individually and communally in our personal relationship with God.
If you are looking for a read that will change your life and ministry group this summer, I cannot recommend this book enough. In fact, I recommend this book so much, that I “assigned” my CWOC board to read the book last year, and I have presented this book in a few book studies and talks to ministry groups in my community. With this post, I have put together my margin scribbles into a more organized study so that any chapel group can read this book together with very little prep work. All credit for the content of this study rests squarely with Sherry Weddell. My hope is that through studying Forming Intentional Disciples, your ministry group will better understand the people in your faith community and understand how to help people along their faith journeys. Feel free to adapt this study to the needs of your ministry group! If you have comments, suggestions, feedback, or ways to improve this study, please contact me at email@example.com!
Forming Intentional Disciples Study for a six-session breakdown of questions to accompany the book study.
“Forming Intentional Disciples – A Book Study” contributed by Elizabeth Tomlin.