A true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him. – Pope Francis
As baptized children of God, we are called to be disciples of Jesus. Pope Francis encourages Catholics to go deeper — to live as missionary disciples who have encountered Christ, know how and why he came to save us, and to spread the Gospel.
Discipleship involves helping all people encounter Jesus Christ and to experience conversion – a change of heart and mind that transforms their lives.
Encountering Jesus takes many forms, including prayer, the Eucharist, sacraments, Scripture, Bible study, service, adoration, works of mercy, acts of charity, etc.
Conversion is experienced when you realize that living an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ is possible; i.e., I have a relationship with Jesus; I can make my relationship with Jesus the reference point in all I do; and I can be a credible and authentic witness to Jesus by the way I live my life.
A missionary disciple walks daily with Jesus throughout life.
- Prayer fosters a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through a rich and vibrant liturgical, sacramental and devotional, and personal prayer life.
- Service to others is the way we respond to our encounter with Jesus by being joyful witnesses of Christ to others through our words and deeds, e.g., by our corporal works of mercy.
- Formation involves being an appreciate of Christ. We learn to know and love the Lord by looking at His life and teachings for guidance.
- Outreach is spreading the Gospel in order to make God known and loved by being credible witnesses to Jesus Christ by the way we live our lives, e.g., by our spiritual works of mercy.
Discipleship and Stewardship
Discipleship precedes stewardship; i.e., stewardship is not possible without discipleship.
Becoming a disciple of Christ leads naturally to living a stewardship way of life.
Discipleship and stewardship are linked and make up the fabric of a Christian life in which each day is lived in an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.
Discipleship and stewardship both involve responses:
- Discipleship is my response to Jesus who says, “Come follow me!”
- Stewardship is my response to God for all the gifts He has given to me.
- Jesus invites us to follow Him and God bestows us with all that we have to be used for the benefit of others. I respond.
“He appointed twelve [whom He also names apostles] that they might be with Him and He might send them forth to preach . . . .” (Mark 3:14)
Stewardship is living a grateful and generous life in gratitude for all the God has given us. It is the way we manage all our God-given gifts through prayer and worship, participation and service, and generosity, as we endeavor to follow Jesus and carry out His mission to spread the Gospel.
Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Stewardship of Prayer
Living a life of stewardship should be an everyday goal of everyone in the parish and beyond this parish. It begins with an increased focus on prayers which takes us into God's presence and prepares us to obey Him. Prayer softens our hearts and changes us so we desire to spend more of our time in prayer and worship, and participation in service to God and others in our lives and parish. As we become more like Christ, our generosity grows so that we want to give more back to the Church and to God as a "thank you" for the richness in blessings that we have received.
In the morning, we can offer to God the entirety of our day to come - all our actions, time, and decisions. In the evening, we can reflect on when we responded to Christ's call and when we fell short. Then we resolve to begin again tomorrow with Christ on our journey.
When we turn our attention to God in prayer, we are enabled to recognize Christ's face in those we serve and to share those gifts generously given to us to build up God's Kingdom.
Stewardship of Participation
God has given each of us unique gifts that give us the ability to do certain things well. We are called by God to develop and use these gifts to further God's Kingdom here on earth. We do this by our participation in ministry and service to others here at St. John Neumann, and in the greater community and Universal Church.
Therefore, we encourage you to prayerfully consider the volunteer opportunities described in the Ministry Guide below and fill out and return the time and talent form also linked.
Stewardship of Generosity
Generosity is our response as stewards of God's many gifts. We use our financial resources to strengthen our parish in order to serve God and each other and to further SJN's mission and God's kingdom here on earth.