I am not a good decorator, but I love a beautifully decorated home. When my husband and I moved into a new home a few years ago, I was determined to make my new space look cozy, up-to-date, and HGTV-like. Knowing that I wasn’t born with the ability to imagine a well-designed room complete with furniture placement, wall hangings, and accent choices, I had to come up with a plan to help me break out of my old habits. So, I downloaded Houzz, an interior design and decorating app, and started looking at pictures which served as my inspiration for change. With the help of these photos, I was able to learn by example and get a vision for my new space. Sometimes, all we need is a spark of inspiration and some examples of new approaches to get the creative juices flowing. This is exactly what we hoped to accomplish with the Detroit Model of Evangelization and the SPARK knowledge base of ideas and best practices .
The Detroit Model of Evangelization was developed in order to fulfill Action Step 2.1.1 of Unleash the Gospel: to help parishes equip, empower, support, and send forth individuals and families in mission. Forming and accompanying individuals to be disciples of Jesus requires clarity of vision and planning so that the end result is not a hodge-podge of programs, events, and classes, but a way of being an invitational church and systematically accompanying people through the stages of conversion. The Detroit Model offers guidelines on how to structure parish programming to meet these goals and provides resources and examples on how to do it. The Detroit Model will be officially unveiled at this year’s Parish Day of Renewal on November 20th , but here is a sneak preview of what’s to come.
The mission of spreading the Gospel has taken many forms over the last 2000 years. Here in Detroit, we have adopted the Encounter/Grow/Witness paradigm , which is giving shape to our evangelization efforts. The Detroit Model also includes an “Attract” stage, which includes methods of pre-evangelization specifically directed to the lost, those who have drifted away, and the unchurched, in order to help parishes be more outwardly focused and get new people in the door. This model helps parish leaders think about the audiences they are trying to reach, the stage of conversion they are at, and proposes methods and activities to help them be fruitful. Each stage of the process, Attract/Encounter/Grow/Witness, is important and serves as a stepping-stone to the next stage. A gap in any stage of the process can compromise results. The model also helps parish leaders think about ways to help individuals progress along the path of discipleship by being intentional on how they follow up with people and connect them to events and activities.
The model will be delivered to parishes through a short online workshop on a new learning platform beginning in late November. The workshop contains:
- A document explaining the model in its entirety
- A Parish Programming Assessment Tool
- A series of teaching videos explaining each stage and giving practical examples on how to implement them at parishes
- Testimonies from individuals in the Archdiocese of Detroit
- Discussion questions and an activity for parish staffs/leadership teams using the Parish Programming Assessment Tool
We hope that the Detroit Model of Evangelization will be a helpful tool in focusing your ministries according to the goals of Unleash the Gospel. The model, together with the SPARK knowledge base, is intended to inspire new ideas and new approaches to making joyful missionary disciples. The Office of Evangelization stands ready to accompany parishes through implementation, and we look forward to supporting you!
Be sure to register for the Parish Day of Renewal so that you can learn more about the Detroit Model of Evangelization.