ChristLife Young Adults begin Following Christ this week, as a follow-up to the Discovering Christ course they ran in September and October 2016. In this blog, James shares about the Discovering Christ course and the fruit that came from it!

By: James Lohrmann

Over the summer, ChristLife Young Adults (CLYA) decided to run a Discovering Christ course for young adults. We got a big break when a friend of ChristLife and Knights of Columbus member, Stephen Schwing, helped us partner with the local Knights of Columbus council to use Beaumont Hall, their beautiful facility often used for wedding receptions, in the heart of downtown Catonsville, Maryland.

 In August, our preparations began in earnest. We used our normal Wednesday evening ChristLife Young Adult meetings to train and mobilize young adults to run the course. Using a combination of our experienced young adults and the Discovering Christ Team Training DVD, we covered the topics during our weekly community meetings. Witnessing our young adults embrace the vision of Discovering Christ and be willing to serve in whatever way
was needed was a beautiful thing.

As we say in the Discovering Christ training, inviting people to Discovering Christ is the proverbial “where the rubber meets the road.” The first thing we did was create a basic website where people could register. We then designed an invite postcard to use as our primary outreach tool. The postcard said, “Life is a Journey, Where are You Headed?” Each week we inspired our young adults to think of family and friends who they could make a personal invite to. We identified three areas of outreach: 1) family and friends, 2) parish young adults, and 3) public invitations.

What I found most encouraging was the creativity and passion with which our community evangelized. One of our young adults, Meg, organized a Holy Hour where several young adults gathered to prayerfully write letters and notes to people in their life they wanted to invite. Another group met up at a local university campus and invited students going to and from their classes. Other young adults strategically brought invite cards with them to Mass to personally invite young adults after Mass ended. Another group invited people in the streets of downtown Catonsville and placed invite cards on the community bulletin boards of local businesses.

The weekend before Discovering Christ I saw a young guy at my local parish, St. Agnes. I was praying in a pew when he walked by. Without really thinking, I got out of the pew, introduced myself, and invited him to Discovering Christ. I truly felt this was the Holy Spirit because something that was usually intimidating to me—reaching out to a stranger—was effortless and natural. His name was Joe and he ended up attending the entire course.

Each night we were joined by about 50 young adults. Thanks to our incredible meal team and food donations, we always had a hot meal ready for our guests and never ran out of food. Our emcee, Andy, did a great job making people feel welcome and loosening everyone up with his sense of humor. Our worship leader, Corrie, did a great job leading our participants steadily deeper into prayer and worship each week. During dinner and especially small groups, there was always a tangible buzz in the room as people discussed the Gospel and opened up about their lives. During the Holy Spirit retreat, nearly everyone who attended chose to approach a prayer team, commit their life to Jesus, and open their hearts to the Holy Spirit.

During the final session, we had a time of testimonies. A man who was raised Buddhist shared that, as a result of the course, he signed up for RCIA! Another man who recently joined RCIA said that Discovering Christ “reinforced his decision.”

My friend, Joe, who I invited at Church, thanked me during the final session. He expressed how much he got out of the course and his intention to continuing being part of CLYA. He shared that the Holy Spirit prayer time deeply touched him, “Being prayed over was extremely powerful and I needed it right at that time.” He also shared what this new community meant to him, “My faith has become more communal and I feel more connected to my fellow faith warriors.”

The deep faith of our young adults also had a deep impact on a young Muslim woman who attended our course. She shared, “As a Muslim, I liked how Christian friends are passionate and enthusiastic about Christ and I liked their deep belief.” She happily thanked me during the last session and hopes to come to some of our CLYA events.

I feel grateful for the service and dedication of the CLYA community, the generosity of our financial and meal donors, Bon Secours Young Adults who gave us a generous grant, and the partnership of the Knights of Columbus. Most of all I am grateful to God for his providential hand in this course, supplying for every need and bringing forth fruit—both visible and hidden.