Encounter opportunities are programs or retreats designed specifically for the purpose of leading participants into a conversion to Christ. These opportunities are for everyone, from the faithful Catholic to the non-believer. The fact that someone is baptized does not necessarily mean they have really experienced the life-changing power of Christ. In many cases, baptized people have not even taken the time to really make Jesus the Lord and center of their lives. Encounter opportunities are aimed at leading people into a real encounter with Jesus Christ. They provide a space in the life of the parish for people to experience the graces that come with making a decision to place Jesus as the Lord of every aspect of their lives. Parishes are being asked to offer an encounter opportunity at least twice a year.
Following are some specific action items to get started with bringing encounter opportunities to your parish.
Date to be Completed:
☐ With the pastoral team, assess what encounter opportunities have been offered in the past at the parish.
☐ Evaluate which encounter opportunity best fits at this time for your parish.
☐ Assign a point person within the pastoral team to oversee the formation of an encounter team.
☐ As a pastoral team, consider 5-6 people in the parish who would be the best candidates to be a part of the encounter team.
☐ Form an encounter team and have an introductory meeting.
☐ Schedule the first two encounter opportunities.
☐ Pastor supports and encourages participation from the pulpit.
☐ Advertise in bulletin and on social media.
☐ Get names and contact information from participants.
☐ Host your encounter opportunity.
☐ Evaluate feedback as a pastoral team and encounter team.
☐ Give the names and contact information to the head of the discipleship group leadership team.
How to do this
With the pastoral team, assess what encounter opportunities have been offered in the past at the parish.
If encounter opportunities have been offered in your parish or area, name them:
What made these opportunities effective?
In what ways could those encounter opportunities be improved?
Identify parishioners who you know have been on an encounter opportunity. Name these people:
Evaluate which encounter opportunity best fits at this time for your parish.
Research programs found in the resource section on page 28.
Choose one to begin with and get whatever materials might be needed to get started.
Pastor assigns a point person within the pastoral team to oversee the formation of an encounter team.
As a pastoral team, consider 5-6 people in the parish who would be the best candidates to be a part of the encounter team.
Personally invite people to join the Encounter Team.
The encounter team handles all of the details for planning, advertising and executing encounter opportunities within a parish. They keep the pastoral team point person informed about all of the details.
Host an introductory meeting for the encounter team.
Talk about the vision and purpose of encounter opportunities
Talk about responsibilities etc.
Schedule the first two encounter opportunities.
It is recommended to host at least 2 encounter opportunities every year, 6 months or so apart.
Contact the Prayer team and ask for prayers before, during and after.
Pastor supports and encourages participation.
Make invitations from the pulpit
Advertise in bulletin and on social media.
Put up posters around the parish etc.
Collect names and contact information from registrants.
Use an online registration service like eventbee or eventbrite.
Host your encounter opportunity
Keep good notes about who showed up consistently etc.
Give feedback forms to assess people’s experiences
Evaluate feedback as a pastoral team and encounter team.
Decide whether or not to continue with the same format
Talk about any necessary changes that should be made for the next round.
Give the names and contact information to the head of the discipleship team.
Once the information is given to the discipleship team they will make contact with people to see if they are interested in joining a discipleship group.
Christ Renews His Parish - http://www.mycrhp.org
Alpha in a Catholic Context - http://www.alphausa.org/Groups/1000042056/Alpha_for_Catholics.aspx#.VAX15U10zIU
Christlife Evangelization Series - http://christlife.org/evangelization/
Steubenville Conferences - http://steubenvilleconferences.com/youth
Cursillo: Jackie Rowe 734-429-5675
Life in the Spirit Seminar
Kairos High School Retreat
To Encounter Christ Retreat (TEC)