Welcome to DECISION POINT
It began with a dream—to give catechists, youth ministers, sponsors, parents, pastors, and Directors of Religious Education (DREs) the tools they need to engage young Catholics in a meaningful conversation about the genius of Catholicism in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Catechesis is the Church’s effort to bring to life the teachings of Jesus Christ in the lives of ordinary men, women, and children. Religious education classes are one of the primary forms of catechesis.
But evangelization precedes catechesis.
Evangelization is first and foremost a dialogue. It is not a monologue. Evangelization is a personal and powerful conversation that leads to conversion of heart, mind, and soul.
And let’s face it, our young people need to be evangelized. They need to hear the Gospel in a way that is fresh, intriguing, relevant, compelling, and attractive. Too often we make the mistake of assuming that they have made a choice for Christ and his Church, when the great majority of them have not. They need to be boldly invited to choose Christ and the Church.
The theology of Confirmation informs us that the Sacrament is about God choosing us. But since we have free will, we need to respond and cooperate as Mary and the saints did in order for God to do his best work through us.
It is our hope that this program will not only prepare young Catholics for the Sacrament of Confirmation in a dynamic way, but also teach and inspire them to respond and cooperate with God’s grace in all the circumstance of their daily lives, long after their Confirmation has passed.
These materials are the result of thousands of hours of work. More than seven hundred people have been involved in the process. Never before has a Catholic program been developed with such rigorous research, development, and testing. Yes, testing. Over and over again, we have put these materials in front of teens and asked them to tell us what was working and what wasn’t. Over and over, we refined our offering based on that feedback.
And we are not finished yet. For decades we have been using programs that were developed once and never changed, or changed every seven years. That is not the case with DECISION POINT. We hope you will provide feedback so that we can continue to improve this offering regularly.
Whatever role you play in preparing young Catholics for Confirmation, we realize it may be a thankless job—so we want to thank you. Thank you for all you are doing for the Church. It is our hope and prayer that this program will help make your experience with today’s Catholic teens infinitely more fulfilling for you and for them.
There is a moment in each person’s life when our eyes get wide and begin to sparkle. At Dynamic Catholic we call that the “I get it now” moment. We hope that our efforts combined with your dedication will produce more “I get it now” moments for Catholic teens.
May the grace of our abundantly generous God inspire you and give you courage, wisdom, and patience.
– The Dynamic Catholic Team
The Dynamic Catholic Approach
This is different. One look at the materials for DECISION POINT and that is clear. It looks different because it is different. But it is not just different in how it looks and feels. The way we developed it was very different from how Catholic programs have been developed in the past.
And it’s not just different for the sake of being different. It’s different for a reason. Let’s be honest—the old way isn’t working. Eighty-five percent of young Catholics stop practicing their faith within ten years of their Confirmation. Different is needed.
DECISION POINT is different in a hundred ways.
Dynamic Catholic was founded on the idea of “meeting people where they are and leading them to where God is calling them to be.” Once Catholics are engaged in their spiritual journey, there is an abundance of materials that can feed them and draw them deeper into relationship with God and the Church. But there is a great shortage of materials that engage disengaged Catholics.
Most young Catholics are disengaged. Engaging them is therefore the first step. Until they are engaged, it doesn’t matter how much information you download on them; they simply will not absorb it and make it their own.
There are many programs that faithfully present the teachings of the Church, but that alone is not enough. While presenting the Church’s teachings faithfully is essential, it is also critically important that they be presented in ways that are engaging, accessible, and relevant.
In setting out, our goal was to create the most dynamic program possible to prepare young Catholics for Confirmation. But we realized that in order to do this we had to get a real sense of what was working, what wasn’t working, and what experts on the front lines thought was needed.
DECISION POINT has taken more than four years to develop. The truth is, in many ways it is very different from what we originally envisioned. When we first set out we thought that the entire program would be online. But over and over again, you asked for physical workbooks, leader guides, and DVDs—so we adapted. Hundreds of people have spoken into this project, and it is better because of that.
This is the process we worked through to deliver what you now hold in your hands.
Year One: LISTEN
We spent the first year just listening. During that time we conducted more than seven hundred interviews with catechists, DREs, priests, youth ministers, youth group leaders, high school and middle school teachers, parents, candidates, current and former sponsors, and bishops.
Year Two: EXPLORE
We spent the second year exploring every Confirmation preparation program that was currently available. We analyzed the differences and similarities between each program. We investigated which parts of each program were effective and which aspects simply weren’t working. We also explored best practices among other Christian churches and groups to discover how they were engaging their teens. Then we spent a lot of time asking why. Over and over again, we asked why: Why does this work? Why doesn’t this work? Why don’t young people respond to this or that? What will it take to really engage them in a meaningful discussion about the genius of Catholicism?
Year Three: DEVELOP AND TEST
By the third year we were developing our own program based on all that we had learned. This began a cycle of development and testing. We would develop snippets of material and then test them with Catholic teens. A lot of the material worked, but some didn’t. And all of it was improved by the feedback we got during the testing.
Year Four: REFINE AND RETEST
Now it’s time to share it with the world. But we see the launch of DECISION POINT as just a larger pilot study. We know it isn’t perfect; no program is. The difference is, we are not done yet. Many programs get launched and are never changed. But we are excited to continuously improve this program based on the feedback you and your students provide to us. So if you see a typo or a substantial way to improve this program, please let us know.
About Dynamic Catholic
By 2008, Matthew Kelly had spent almost fifteen years on the road, spoken to three million people in more than fifty countries, written a dozen bestselling books which had been published in twenty-five languages and sold millions of copies, visited more than two-thousand parishes in the United States alone, and travelled more than three million miles to share the Gospel with men, women, and children of all ages.
While most people were constantly congratulating him for his contribution and success, in the summer of 2008 a group of close friends and advisors gathered to challenge Matthew to completely re-think the way he was serving the Church.
The message was essentially this…
“Don’t be satisfied inspiring a few hundred thousand people each year. Work out how you can reach one hundred times more people in the next fifteen years than you have in the last fifteen. Do something incredible for the Church. Nobody is in a better position to inspire the Catholics of our time to give Catholicism another look and embrace it in new ways.”
This led to several months of soul-searching. As Matthew reflected on his fifteen years on the road he wondered what impact he was having and began to dream with God about how it would even be possible to have one hundred times more impact.
The Dynamic Catholic Institute was founded in 2009 in response to their challenge. With a loosely framed mission to, “re-engage disengaged Catholics and increase engagement among Catholics in general,” Matthew and his team realized that their first task must be to find out the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics.
They were stunned to discover that not a single research project of any merit had been conducted to explore this question.
Later that same year, The Dynamic Catholic Institute began one of the most significant research projects ever conducted: to establish what it is that makes a Catholic highly engaged.
On November 1, 2012, more than a decade after publishing Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly released the findings of the research in a book entitled: The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic: How Engaging 1% of Catholics Could Change the World. The book took just twenty-three days to sell 100,000 copies and sparked widespread conversation.
What is the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics? It seems like an obvious question, but it had never been asked before.
Now that the question has been answered, we believe the findings should influence everything we do as a Church.
Over the past four years, The Dynamic Catholic Institute has developed a series of programs and resources designed to re-engage disengaged Catholics, and transform marginally engaged Catholics into dynamic Catholics.
Today, our main focus is on developing learning systems for each of the nine Catholic Moments. Each Catholic Moment represents a huge opportunity to demonstrate the genius of Catholicism and lead people into a more dynamic relationship with God. But in order to accomplish this we believe that we need world-class learning systems that present the faith in ways that are engaging and inspiring.
About Matthew Kelly
Matthew Kelly has dedicated his life to helping people and organizations become the-best-version-of-themselves. Born in Sydney, Australia, he began speaking and writing in his late teens while he was attending business school. Since that time, more than four million people have attended his seminars and presentations in more than fifty countries.
Today he is an internationally acclaimed speaker, bestselling author, and business consultant. His books have been published in twenty-five languages, appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists, and sold in excess of ten million copies.
Kelly is also a partner at Floyd Consulting, a Chicago-based management-consulting firm. His clients include: Procter and Gamble, Chick-fil-A, General Electric, Pepsi, FedEx, HSBC, the Department of Defense, McDonalds, US Bank, 3M, Ernst & Young, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies.
Matthew is also one of the most respected Catholic authors and speakers of our time. He founded The Dynamic Catholic Institute to research why Catholics engage or disengage, and to build programs that would increase engagement among Catholics and re-energize the Catholic Church.
Matthew Kelly’s core message resonates with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whether he is speaking in a business forum, at a high school, or in a church, he invites his audience to become the-best-version-of-themselves.
His personal interests include golf, piano, literature, spirituality, investing, and spending time with his wife Meggie and their children Walter, Isabel, Harry, and Ralph.