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About Encounter, Grow, Witness

A resource for parish leaders — pastors, staff and volunteers — to help their parish communities thrive

Guidepost 9 of the Unleash The Gospel Pastoral letter clearly identifies a process for evangelization in the Archdiocese of Detroit: “'Encounter / Grow / Witness' is the threefold process for evangelization that has proven its worth in our local Church and will be our paradigm as we go forward in unleashing the Gospel. Every person in the Archdiocese is called to encounter Jesus anew, to grow daily as his disciple, and to give witness to the power of his mercy.”

It goes on to outline three markers for parishes to fulfill this process:

Marker 9.1 - Encounter
An encounter with Jesus is a moment in our lives that has such impact it causes us to change how we live. Once we have encountered Christ, from that point forward we are either all in or all out. Jesus says, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mk 8:34). We are faced with a decision to either walk away sad like the rich young man, or to surrender our whole life to him and live from that moment on as his disciple. Parishes need to constantly foster opportunities for people to encounter Jesus.

Marker 9.2 - Grow
To follow Jesus is to be in a constant process of growth, like the seed that fell on rich soil. We seek to be more like Jesus, to treat others as he did, to pray as he prayed, to love as he loved, and to honor God in every area of our lives, including marriage, family life, finances, work, and leisure activities. Growing as his disciple demands a daily surrender to the one who loved us and gave his life for us: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Parishes need to help parishioners to grow continually in discipleship and deepen their relationship with Christ.

Marker 9.3 - Witness
Many Catholics tend to think our goal is essentially to be good and make it to heaven. In fact, our goal is to extend the kingdom of God on earth by making the world a place where Christ is known and loved, so that as many people as possible are brought with us to eternal life. To live fully as a disciple is to make disciples. All we need is this conviction: “Knowing Jesus is the best gift that any person can receive; that we have encountered him is the best thing that has happened in our lives, and making him known by our word and deeds is our joy.” Parishes need to help every parishioner become a witness to God’s everlasting mercy and thereby unleash the Gospel to everyone they meet.---The Encounter Grow Witness resources and community exist to empower, equip, and evangelize parish leaders in the Archdiocese of Detroit so that our parishes and communities are transformed to be places where people can encounter God — places where people are welcomed and loved.

About the Online Community

The goal of this group is to foster collaboration and support among parish leaders — pastors, staff, and volunteers — so they can lead their communities to encounter Jesus anew, to grow daily as his disciple, and to give witness to the power of his mercy.

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