Conference promises to teach how to lead as disciples

ORLANDO | Ask most Catholics about discipleship or sharing the story of why they are believers and most will have no idea what to do with the question. This year’s Ministry Formation Conference, Into the Deep, challenges stale ideas about evangelization and promises to teach how to lead others to Christ, as disciples.

Into the Deep finds its roots in Luke 5:4, “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’” The conference is on Saturday, Feb. 5th from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Daniel Boyd, secretary for Laity, Family, and Life in the Diocese of Orlando shared how the Lord invites each person to put out into the deep and trust Him for a miraculous catch. “When we rely on him, he multiplies our little effort,” he assures.

Many recognize that discipleship can be intimidating, but the conference hopes to give people the necessary tools to succeed in sharing the Gospel. Boyd says the conference is about “the how of evangelization. The how of sharing our faith.” He explains, “A lot of us know that we need to share, and we might even know what we need, but how is much more difficult.”

This year the conference will offer three simultaneous tracks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Leading the English track is former central Florida resident, Katherine Coolidge. As Director for Parish and Diocesan Services at Catherine of Siena Institute, she says, “This is an event for us to be able to come to understand that God calls us in our time and our place. He’s equipped us by our Baptism and Confirmation for the mission that He has for us. Each one of us has a unique piece to play.” Her focus will be to help people understand “how God is calling them to uniquely participate in the mission of evangelization.”

The day will be broken up into three sessions, each building upon the other, allowing participants to reflect on their current faith journey and how they can share the Good News in a practical way.

“The first step is cultivating trust,” noted Boyd. “[Knowing your own spiritual journey] gives you one more thing to thank God for. People want to know Jesus, but they also want to know about you and what Jesus has done for you. If we don’t have a convincing answer of why we’re followers of Jesus Christ, then I think we’re going to miss a lot of opportunities to evangelize because it’s much more convincing through your own testimonial.”

Boyd and Coolidge pray those who actively participate in the conference will leave feeling restored in their relationship with the Lord as they recognize His active presence in their lives. The conference will not only provide tools to evangelize, but also allow participants to reflect and build a deeper understanding of their spiritual journey.

To register for the conference, go to:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ministry-formation-conference-2022-registration-152875230931?fbclid=IwAR2bsCsr6rXsxx6qrlqiAVqqZZ3kd6nS7HZNoT4R1bseOT9GC75mxebmuAE

By Lana Kaczmarek, Special to the Florida Catholic, January 19, 2022