You probably have children, relatives and friends who have not yet developed a friendship with Jesus and some may not necessarily be interested in pursuing one. You may also feel afraid or unsure how to open up a discussion about your own relationship with Christ.
A relationship with the Person of Jesus allows us to recognize that we are loved. It also provides an interior stability, giving meaning to life while providing a decisive direction on the right path. Jesus gives us light and strength to fulfill our highest calling: to live and act in a way that reveals our dignity as a person created by God. Further, only Jesus can satisfy and fulfill our longing hearts, leading us to the true happiness of interior peace and joy.
For those without a connection to Christ, we don’t have to simply stand by and watch them struggle. Rather, we can help those we care about become interested in receiving God’s love, recognize that they – and indeed all of us – need a Savior to free us from the harmful effects of sin, and commit their lives to Jesus. We don’t have to sit by and simply hope that they don’t hit rock bottom before they recognize their need for God and cry out to Him for help.
Of course, daily we should fervently pray for specific people to open their hearts to Jesus and grow in their love for Him. We can also accompany them on their journey. “Accompaniment is walking alongside another person on their pilgrimage toward a relationship with Jesus for which they have been created. This child or friend must walk their own journey but we can act as a guide along the way. Like a mountain climbing guide, we have been through some of this journey before, and continue our own personal pilgrimage. Through the wisdom gleaned from our own guides and from experience, we can help others navigate their journey to their final destination, which is Christ Himself. We have not reached the final destination of eternal communion with God, nor have we achieved perfection on our own pilgrimage. However, we are a bit further along the way and can humbly guide those who are just starting” or want to go deeper. (“Intentional Accompaniment: How to walk with disciples as they grow closer to Christ,” Catholic Christian Outreach, Canada)
The art of intentional accompaniment requires some specific skills, such as
• Extending an invitation to friendship with Jesus
• Knowing how to make the invitation personal
• Presenting the First Announcement – the Kerygma – in a few sentences that tug at the heart of the person with the reasons why they would want to encounter Jesus
• Providing an opportunity to make a decision for Christ
• Having simple conversations about Jesus
If you would like to develop these simple skills in order to walk with others in a gentle and inviting way as they come closer to Jesus, then the Witnesses for Christ Conference is for you. We have the most important Truth in the world! Let’s become more confident at accompanying people on their journey to encountering Jesus Christ and committing their lives to Him.
By Ann Lankford, Director of the Office for Catechesis and Evangelization
Witnesses for Christ Conference Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10
Consider attending the Witnesses for Christ Conference, Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10 at Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse. The keynote speakers will be Michael Hall from Catholic Christian Outreach in Canada, a successful movement dedicated to leading others to commit to Jesus Christ, and Father Lou Mollinelli, a Salesian from Louisiana and expert in the ways of accompanying children and young people on their journey to the Lord in the way of St. John Bosco. For more information and to register, visit diolc.org/catechesis or call 608.791.2658.