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Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
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Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  817 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Describe your relationship with God I went to Mass every Sunday. I was on two committees at my parish. I read the Catechism of Catholic Church. I didn't eat meat on Fridays during Lent

Too often we approach our faith like we would a checklist or a resume.

While the knowledge of our faith and the experience of faith is certainly important, how would our lives be different if
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Our Sunday Visitor (first published January 1st 2012)
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Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell is a startlingly honest book about the state of most Catholic parishes today. I recognized many truths and heard the reasons for them explained. However, it wasn’t the problems which intrigued me so much as the hopeful signs, the solutions, and the positive maxim, “Never accept a label in place of a story.” Her five thresholds of conversion were even more compelling as they’re readily identifiable points alo ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-list, favorites
When I started reading this book as part of a summer-long study, I knew it would be a good read and I thought it would be worth the time I was investing in it.

It was way more than worth it. It was transformative.

There’s something in the air right now, and Forming Intentional Disciples captures part of it.

We’re all looking around us in our pews, under the kneelers, around the parish, and wondering, “what the heck do we do now?”

This has been one of the best handbooks I’ve read, and it’s going on t
Rusty Tisdale
Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: faith
I liked it, I really did. However, the information is overwhelming, and it has a tendency to come off as a bit formulaic. A bit. Also, there is a tendency to over-emphasize the negative in Catholicism over those things we get right. Also, a lot is riding on a particular view of discipleship. Many of the best "followers of Jesus" I've met in the Church are reticent about talking about their faith, but live it powerfully.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rooted in extensive research and pastoral work across the country, Weddell argues that the majority of self-identified Catholics have never actually been evangelized, heard and responded to the call to radically follow Christ. This book does an excellent job of laying out the issue but does not adequately develop the solution. Nonetheless, it has my head spinning with thoughts and questions. I see she has a subsequent book. I plan on reading that one to see if some of those questions are answere ...more
Joyce Donahue
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sherry Weddell nails it. The Catholic Church has a serious disciple deficit. so much of what she says sounds very familiar, but it is the way the statements about the issues and the proposals for solution are put together that is unique. I will be passing this one on to my pastor and parish council.. and to people in my diocesan office.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christianity
After everything I heard, I was pretty underwhelmed, especially after Bishop Loverde of Arlington cited a couple quotes from her book in his apostolic letter on the New Evangelization. I really don't know where to start. I think Weddell offers a lot of good thoughts on promoting an active relationship with Jesus. I wasn't entirely comfortable though, with a couple things. One, her list of five steps in the conversion process. She would acknowledge, I think, that individuals need to be considered ...more
Jess Mearns
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book... what a good read for someone who is interested in ways to evangelize and disciple...and also for anyone curious about why it may sometimes seem rare to hear conversations about a relationship with Jesus Christ among practicing Catholics. It really pinpoints the problems that the Church is faced with in the 21st Century and how we can work towards resolving those problems
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
While I'm not a Catholic, when a colleague shared the idea of intentional disciples as a metaphor for our work in education redesign, I became intrigued. Weddell's presentation of the changes in religious practice in both the U.S. and the world are also fascinating, as are the five thresholds on the path to discipleship:
1. Trust
2. Curiosity
3. Openness
4. Seeking
5. Intentional Discipleship
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Although the premise of this book is very well thought out, the author did not quite convince me that intentional discipleship is the path that I am meant to follow. The main reason for that is I felt she failed to fully explain her examples and the theological backings for her thoughts about intentional discipleship. There were many instances where she would start to talk about the 'why' a particular step in formation was so important, but would then lead directly into how one would accomplish ...more
Claire Gilligan
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Exceeded my expectations! One of my first thoughts while reading this was, "Why wasn't this required reading in my undergrad catechetics curriculum?" Then I looked and discovered that it wasn't published until after I graduated (time flies, eh?).

She's got some statistics that impressed even jaded me, along with demonstrative stories--both of how we (as Catholic communities) are failing, and of how some of us are succeeding. Along with those, she shares strategies developed by working with hundre
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is inspirational, and even manages to use polling and sociology to some kind of good purpose, which I have been waiting decades to see.

I guess this is as good a place as any to muse for a moment: All those people who used to come to church every Sunday and now don't...were they ever meaningfully Christian at all? I mean, there's a ton of nuance to that question that I'm not about to try to engage with here, but I throw this out here just to suggest that we're probably going through a p
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This may not be a timeless spiritual classic or literary feat, but without a doubt, this was the most timely and poignant book I read all year. It was certainly the one I talked about the most with people, and as a seminarian, I'm generally inundated by deep spiritual/theological classics... It is not a cynical book in the least. It is simply honest and ACTUALLY hits upon the ethos of the "postmodern" believer and nonbeliever. I think Weddell just puts her finger right on the nerve of what have ...more
Mary Louise
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
The Catholic Church continues to lose members to evangelical churches because parishioners say they are seeking a more personal relationship with God. The author suggests 5 thresholds one should experience to know and follow Jesus on a personal level.

1. Trust 2. Curiosity 3. Openess 4. Seeking 5. Intentional Discipleship

This book will certainly challenge the reader to examine and revitalize his/her own spiritual needs and think about his individual gifts which can be used to assist with the eva
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I found it rather difficult to read because it was so abstract. I think the takeaway is that intentional discipleship is a personal relation with God, and a constant discernment of what God is asking me to do. (I reread this book in Aug 2014 after participating in a "Called and Gifted" workshop, and in preparation for a "Making Disciples" workshop presented by the author. It made much more sense. Weddell is saying that each of us has been given a gift, we need to discover it and use it to evange ...more
Father Brice Higginbotham
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Forming Intentional Disciples is a well written and insightful work on evangelization in post-modern western society, particularly America. I highly recommend it and will soon compose a multi-part review on the blog [].
Tom Wascoe
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I felt I was being lectured rather than inspired.
Mary Helene
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Weddell is on to something here. As Catholics we do not talk about our spiritual lives and we don't share them. I was traveling while reading this book and decided to try out her premise that people are eager to have a safe place to share what's going on in their relationship with God. The first was a friend of my grown son. We had about 20 minutes alone together, waiting. I asked him and he said, "Funny you should ask. I've been thinking about it lately, how I need to let go." and then he d ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
As I continue to grow in my Catholic faith, I know there is more for me to do in the Lord's vineyard. As my Women's L.I.F.E. group continues to evolve, I have come across many beautiful women who feel as strongly about their faith as I do. This book was an eyeopener for me, as I learned how much we need to do to evangelize people, including Catholics. This book is a stepping stone to changing the lives of the people in your own parish. Lots of good examples, statistics, and a blueprint on how to ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: catholic
Begins with depressing statistics of how few people attend church services or even belong to a church at this time. many people desire no denominational affiliation. Wendell does offer some evangelization guides for Catholics. I got more out of this book in my second reading supported by a discussion group.
Soren Chargois
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a very "meh." book to me. All of the suggestions are good and the facts seems to be accurate, but it couldn't hold my interest. I suppose it was written more for church leaders and directors than recent college grads. I've heard lots of good things about it so if you're interested, give it a try!
Chris Chase
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me a long long time to get into this book but it starts out heavy with lots of sobering statistics but the last few chapters are the meat and potatoes. It provides excellent examples on what it means and takes to form disciples.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholicism
Lots of little gems to think about in why the church is struggling. We don't make disciples. Good overview of how to help others come to know Jesus through the church. This will be something I will refer back to again.
Frank Casey
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Jaime Hernandez
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: catholic-reading
Good book that I read throughout a few years. However, a great reference for energizing your faith and helping to explore ways to use your talents for the parish.
Sengole Gnanaraj
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read book for telling the story of Jesus for our own times and our own cultural problems.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Concepts are 5 stars. Church parish should foster true disciples of Christ, not just going to church through the motions. Writing is too clunky, grinding through chapters.
Ann Yeong
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Book Review
Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry A. Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012)

What is the difference between an “active Catholic” and an “intentional disciple”? In the Catholic culture that most baptised Catholics grow up in, we do not hear much about, much less understand, what discipleship is. In many of our parishes, a ‘good Catholic’ seems to be defined as someone who frequents the Sacraments (especially mass) and who is active in parish min
Mathew Allen
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
After having read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship,” my faith was shaken to the foundations. I took Jesus Christ’s command to make disciples of all the world very much to heart. But the Gospels and the Epistles, for all that they are, are not what I would call instruction books on making disciples. Some people look at how Peter spoke to the people of Jerusalem at Pentecost and think that is the exact way to approach Christ’s Commission. Well, if the Holy Spirit is calling you to d ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-read-list
I now understand why so many people love this book.

This is *the* manual on the New Evangelization - how we need to pursue holiness and seek out the lost sheep. In other words, the Great Commission given at the end of the Gospel.

After two generations of devastation in our Church we are left with ever shrinking numbers, those who are "former Catholics" are practically the largest religious group in America, and those who do even come to Mass on Sunday's don't know Jesus and don't believe the bas
Andrew Doohan
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book both very encouraging and very challenging - but above all very needed in the life of the contemporary Church. With so many opportunities to encourage people - both within and without the Church - to discipleship, Sherry Weddell examines not only the how but also the why of the need for a new evangelization in the life of the Church.

Evangelization, at least in the Catholic Church, has become almost a dirty word, "something we Catholics don't do", and yet the danger of not engag
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Sherry Anne Weddell created the first charism discernment process specifically designed for Catholics in 1993. In 1997, she co-founded the Catherine of Siena Institute, an affiliated international ministry of the Western Dominican Province, and currently serves as Co-Director.

Sherry has developed numerous unique formation resources that are used around the world and trained and helps lead an inter
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“Simon, the fisherman, before his meeting with Christ, however thoroughly he might have searched within himself, could not possibly have found a trace of Peter.” 0 likes
“Adoration appeals to postmoderns because it is experiential, mysterious, and accessible to everyone: the nonbaptized, the non-Catholic, the unchurched, the lapsed, the badly catechized, the wounded, the skeptical, the seeking, the prodigal, and those who aren’t sure that a relationship with God is even possible.” 0 likes
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