This past week, Everett did a Skype consultation with Martin Koh in Malaysia. Martin is the youth minister for a Catholic parish of 4,000 families. Less than 1% of the population in Malaysia are Catholic (the majority religion of Malaysia is Islam). Martin had picked up a copy of The Art of Forming Young Disciples when he was visiting the United States for a workshop with Sherry Weddell. Interestingly, he immediately identified with a lot of the principles that can be found in Everett’s book. The challenges that we face in youth ministry are universal and small group discipleship is a method that works in any setting and in any country.
Over the past couple of months, Everett has also done Skype consultation with youth ministry leaders in England and in Ireland.
Training in Des Moines, Iowa
In August, Everett traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to offer a training for new small group mentors and a refresher for returning mentors at Dowling Catholic High School. Dowling Catholic High School was part of our pilot program for training this past year. In the last 12 months, they have launched over 20 discipleship groups in their high school and the ministry is changing the entire culture of the high school. This school is a pioneer in the area of offering discipleship opportunities for the students at their high school.
Training in Kansas
In September, Everett offered two training presentations in the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas – one for all of the rural youth ministers and another for youth ministers in the city. In October, Everett returned to Kansas City for the Catholic High School Formation Conference where he gave a workshop on small group discipleship for campus ministers from around the country. Kansas City, Kansas is one of SEVEN dioceses that Everett will be speaking in this year.
The Fruit of Discipleship
St. Andrew Missionaries continues to measure the success of small group discipleship in the places where we train or build ministries and the results continue to be staggering. For example, Everett led a group of high school boys from 2014-2018. All of the boys graduated this past spring and while many of them have gone on to attend faithful Catholic colleges, some of them have also decided to take gap years. Among those taking gap years, Joe Paolucci is doing a year of discernment and formation with the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Spain. Josh Gieger is doing a year of formation with the Servants of Christ Jesus in Denver. Joe Machado is serving for a year as a missionary with NET ministries in Ireland. Finally, Ethan Stefanick is doing a year of missionary work on a ranch in Texas. Its amazing to see the fruit of discipleship at work.
Reboot at Notre Dame in Denver
In addition to running St. Andrew Missionaries, Everett works for Notre Dame Catholic parish in Denver. Everett and the rest of the clergy and staff at Notre Dame have been working hard at parish renewal efforts. On November 8, Notre Dame hosted Chris Stefanick (Real Life Catholic) and his Reboot event. This parish renewal event was initiated by Everett and executed by a team of parishioners. The event was ticketed and it sold out. Many in attendance were non-Church goers and some were even non-Catholic. It was a huge success. Below is just one of many amazing testimonies from the event:
“I met a woman today who came up to me with tears in her eyes. She said she brought her 46 year old daughter Thursday who hadn’t been in a church in many years.
‘My daughter reached out and held my hand – I looked over at her and she was crying the whole time.’ “
The next step in the parish is to offer discipleship groups for people of all ages. Over 100 people signed up that evening to participate in newly formed discipleship groups.
Youth Retreat in Texas
Immediately following the Reboot event, Everett caught and plane and flew to Texas to lead a high school youth retreat for one of the parishes that Everett has been coaching in small group discipleship. The weekend retreat was powerful, and offered the students that had committed to discipleship the opportunity to grow in habits and disciplines of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Your contributions, prayers and support are making a difference in the lives of teenagers across America! Thank you for your support in helping us to put a mentor into the life of every Catholic teen. Little by little, we were turn the tide and stop the hemorrhaging of our youth in the Church.