What is Following Christ?
Following Christ is the second part of ChristLife's three-part evangelization process: Discovering Christ, Following Christ, and Sharing Christ. It is the last of the three courses to be produced on DVD. Sharing Christ was produced in 2005, followed by Discovering Christ in 2009. Following Christ was produced in November-December 2010 and released at the the ChristLife Training Conference in Spring 2011.
ChristLife has run pilot courses of Following Christ in parishes, regionally for young adults, and in a campus ministry since 2007. Nearly 300 people have completed the course and given testimony to the life-changing effects of becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.
Following Christ Structure
Topics and Course Schedule
Following Christ includes seven weekly sessions and a retreat following the fifth session.
- Daily Personal Prayer
- Hearing God in Scripture
- The Power of the Sacraments
- Forgiving One Another
- The Spirit-Empowered Life
Retreat: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil
- Advancing the Mission of the Church
Each session includes prayer and worship, a DVD-teaching, and a small group discussion. A typical evening schedule follows:
- 7:30pm - Prayer and Worship
- 8:00pm - Teaching
- 8:40pm - Coffee Break
- 8:45pm - Small Group Discussion
- 9:30pm - Close
Theology and methodology of Following Christ
During Discovering Christ, participants often make an adult renewal of their baptismal commitment and are baptized in the Holy Spirit, experience deeper conversion to the Lordship of Jesus, or come to Christ for the first time in their lives and enthusiastically ask, "what's next?"
What's next is following Christ. This stage requires formation and discipleship. For all those who attended Discovering Christ and who want to continue together, becoming a follower of the Lord Jesus as Catholics involves some important basic disciplines.
What ChristLife focuses on in this continuing the process of evangelization that began in Discovering Christ - in a parish, campus ministry or small group - is not adult education, i.e. knowledge about the Catholic faith (important as that is); but rather continuing renewal of hearts and minds and the transformation of lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of disciplines and practices of a new disciple.
At the beginning of this process of discipleship some of the most formative means of helping a person grow in union with God and the Church are the experience of group prayer, teaching with small group discussions and fellowship, bible study, and periodic one-on-one mentoring to assist in their progress. This is obviously within the content of Church life that includes regular reception of the sacraments and participation in the liturgy.
Following Jesus in Our Daily Lives
Being a Christian is about a new way of living in our daily lives, not only on Sundays or the life to come! Our goal is to help people mature in Christ (Col 1:28). Those attending the course would understand that they would be making a commitment to grow in their relationship with the Lord Jesus and the Church by taking certain practical actions following each of the sessions. Each week builds on the previous one in the discussion times.
Each week the participants would be incorporating the disciplines that have been taught and discussing them during the small group times. During each week in preparation for the next session the participants would be completing and working to establish a variety of spiritual disciplines. For the sessions to be most fruitful in your life, preparation is not meant to be done one hour before the session. Rather if you take time to reflect and take action daily on the elements from the previous session, real transformation in the Holy Spirit can occur!
The Importance of Relationships
During Discovering Christ many participants establish friendships and relationships that support their new commitment to Jesus. As participants go on to Following Christ it is essential to foster relationship building as a priority. Though the teaching each night is the most direct formation; prayer together and fellowship during small group discussions are essential to surround the teachings and make them real in the participants lives and in their personal relationships.