Dan Tarrant, founder of ReEngaged Ministries and a Summit host site leader in Philadelphia, is on a mission to invite Catholics into a personal relationship with God within the heart of the Catholic Church.
Some think this mission is counter intuitive and impossible.
But the paradigm is shifting.
When the Catholic Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999, agreeing explicitly that salvation is “by grace alone” and “not because of any merit on our part,” Dan became burdened with a call back to the Catholic Church.
This time, as a Christian who was also Catholic, he desired to invite Catholics into a relationship with God built on the foundation of grace.
His vision was sparked.
But it wasn’t until he (reluctantly) attended The Global Leadership Summit that Dan’s vision was set ablaze.
He realized the local church, including the Catholic Church, could be the hope of the world.
And Dan has been attending the Summit almost every year ever since.
Be inspired by Dan’s incredible journey.
“Figure it out”
God thumped my heart a couple of years ago when Bill Hybels’ challenged us to “Figure it Out” in his message at the Summit. And it wasn’t simply a nice pep talk. It was the Holy Spirit using that moment to pull me aside and so I could listen to Him.
This is likely the most important takeaway from a Summit for me in my life.
I realized that sometimes God calls us from A to B and then says “figure it out.” I kept telling God to figure it out and I would follow. But it became clear God was asking me to “put out into the deep” without knowing what to expect and then “figure it out” myself.
So I set out on a journey to figure it out!
My own personal relationship with God, my own experience of Church and my reading of the Bible has led me to two solid conclusions:
The Catholic culture is being called to:
- learn how to have a more personal relationship with God.
- rediscover grace in a more authentic and personal manner
I honestly believe the absence of these two things can hold back many Catholics from a transformed life in Jesus Christ.
Pope John Paul II said, “It is painfully clear that many Catholics…have never made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”
Pope Benedict XVI said, “Let us ask ourselves: how it my personal relationship with God?” He also said “We are only Christians if we encounter Christ…. Only in the personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians.”
Finally, Pope Francis said, “We believe in Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives.”
It seemed that Pope John Paul II was saying that many Catholics have never personally committed their lives to Jesus Christ. It seemed that Pope Benedict was calling Catholics to a personal relationship with God and openly declaring that being baptized and then only going through the motions at Mass was not enough to be an authentic Catholic Christian. And it seemed that Pope Francis was saying Catholics need to consciously make a personal decision to welcome Jesus.
But few in the Church were actively responding.
The popes, along with the voice of God in my life, were saying what my own heart and experience were saying.
I was going to have to figure it out.
That was when ReEngaged Ministries was born.
Through ReEngaged Ministries, an organization birthed out of the inspiration and encouragement God prompted at the Summit, thousands of Catholics have met Jesus Christ in a personal way.
In a year and a half we have invited more than 4,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and beyond to make a personal decision to welcome Jesus Christ into their hearts in a personal relationship with God, which is grounded in grace alone.
My dream is that the relationship with God I discovered after I left the church can be found by other Catholics within the Catholic community without leaving it.
God calls all of us to be Christian. Christ is not a vague abstract moral principle; He’s a person with a personal plan for our lives.
Whenever I ask God what He wants me to do in this situation or that one, the answer is always the same: “Be a Christian.” It’s so simple. And it’s what I’m doing. I’m being a Christian in the Catholic Church, and God is honoring that work in the church tradition in which I was born.
The Summit is a catalyst
The Summit’s approach of being unapologetically Christian and unapologetically open to learning from everyone has created a genuine space for growth and rest in my walk with Jesus Christ as a Catholic Christian. The Summit experience creates unity with other Christians, changing the Summit from being a series of talks you can just watch at home to something you must attend within a diverse community of faith.
To this day, the Summit continues to give me the vision for leading up and leading courageously without using my circumstances as an excuse. It helps me keep my eyes on grace and growth. And the Summit is the one place where I am almost certain to hear a whisper from God about the future direction of my service to him in a foundational way.
Ultimately, the Summit has helped me be more fully myself fully for Jesus Christ. And in that alone is my peace. Everything else in my leadership life is a fruit of that lifestyle. The Summit has been, and continues to be, one of the most important touchstones in my walk with Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church.