Continuing the series on Michael Dopp and Mission of the Redeemer Ministries, Michael describes relit: The Heart of Evangelization. If you haven’t yet read it, please take a look at the first in this series, Michael Dopp Interview, in which we focus on what moved Michael to dedicate his life to forming evangelists.
Michel, could you describe relit?
Relit was the first one we did and the genesis of it was a program I was involved in when I was a seminarian. This program was a week-long program geared to forming Catholics for the New Evangelization and it was held in Ottawa, Canada which is where I now live. When I left the seminary, I kept thinking about that experience and how good of an experience it was to bring these wonderful, incredible Catholics together for a week in order to learn how to evangelize. I always thought that would be the type of work I would be involved in. The general idea of what they were trying to do in that program, was really the beginning of relit.
I took that general structure and created all the content myself. If it is done live, it is about a three day program. The goal of relit is not to evangelize and we assume that attendees are already evangelized which ends up being true about 95% of the time. What we are really trying to do is answer the questions, “What is the basic theology that people need for evangelization? What is evangelization? What has the Church said about it?”
We look at five different areas: Theology, Spirituality, Context, Models, and the Cycle of Evangelization. The basic theology of it is what I mentioned before. The spirituality of evangelization is what it means to have a heart for the Gospel and a heart for souls. It discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in evangelization as well. We also look at the context of all of this. For example, how do we evangelize our friends, our family, our workplace, and in our parishes? We look at the different models that have been proposed for evangelization. These include the Thresholds that Sherry Weddell talks about in her book Forming Intentional Disciples and the Transcendentals. The Transcendentals are Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and most people are more in tune with one of the three than with the others. So, we look at how our parishes can provide opportunities for people that are seeking truth to have that fulfilled; that those looking for goodness can experience it; and so people can see beauty as the fingerprint of God and encounter it. We also look at the cycle of evangelization Pope Paul VI developed in Evangelii Nuntiandi where he speaks of witness, proclamation, conversion, discipleship, and then mission.
We offer all those different tools in relit. It helps evangelists place people they’ve encountered and what might be the best approach to take with them. Finally, we just offer very simple tools for sharing the faith. For example, how do we share our testimony; what is the kerygma; what are the top ten things we can do to help to move people one step further along the path to Christ.
We have been doing relit for about the last 6 years. Mission of the Redeemer Ministries has grown as we’ve done it, but relit remains as the cornerstone of what we are doing. Relit takes someone who is open to evangelization, and gets them ready to say, “Yes, I think I can do this and I have the basic tools.” We offer it live, or we have the DVD series so that parishes can do it over the course of six, nine, or eighteen weeks, by watching the DVD lesson with participant and leader guides that go along with it.
Michael Dopp is the President of Mission of the Redeemer Ministries and works alongside his wife, Linda, who assists in the ministry as well as taking care of their two daughters, Therese (3) and Anna (4.5 months). Mission of the Redeemer Ministries “seeks to inspire and form lay Catholics into holy and effective evangelists so that they may share the Gospel in all contexts of their lives.” The three primary initiatives of Mission of the Redeemer Ministries are relit: The Heart of Evangelization, Summer Institute in the New Evangelization, and the upcoming New Evangelization Summit to take place in April.
More in this series: Michael Dopp Interview.