The Four Ways Forward: Becoming an Apostolic Parish in a Post-Christian World
by Susan Windley-Daoust
Our Sunday Visitor (October 31, 2022)
208 pages

The Four Ways Forward: Becoming an Apostolic Parish in a Post-Christian World

Radical hospitality and proclamation. Spiritual multiplication. Mission (re)focus. Divine signs and wonders.

These are the four models practiced by fruitful, joyful, evangelizing parishes.

These are the four ways to move forward toward evangelizing our post-Christian culture.

An increasingly post-Christian world is forcing parishes to re-envision how they “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). Pastors and lay leadership must pivot to building mission-first parishes, equipped to proclaim the Gospel to those who have not heard it — while the number of practicing Catholics falls with increasing speed.

Parish leaders are hungry for programs and resources to help address these challenges. Yet no single model or program can suit every parish, and leaders are bogged down with options, many of which offer no clear goals or methods. In The Four Ways Forward, Susan Windley-Daoust, theologian and diocesan director of missionary discipleship, provides a road map to pastors and parish staff to make sense of it all.

To become an apostolic parish, there are four effective models to choose from, each built on a distinct, necessary insight and method in the art of conversion:

  1. Radical hospitality and proclamation
  2. The practice of spiritual multiplication
  3. Organizational mission (re)focus
  4. Highlighting divine signs and wonders in our midst

Every fruitful, joyful, evangelizing parish should embrace the insights and methods of at least three of the four models. This book not only describes each model, giving examples of how it is being used in parishes today, but offers a practical blueprint toward crafting a response to the post-Christian world, including notes on spiritual roadblocks that can get in the way.

Why everyone is recommending The Four Ways Forward

“If you want to read one book on the new evangelization, make it this one. It is a synopsis of everything else that is being said and then some. Susan Windley-Daoust writes as a teacher, a scholar, a mom, a parishioner and a diocesan director of missionary discipleship. Mostly, she writes as a missionary disciple herself…. As I reflected on what I was reading, I became convinced that Susan was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this book.”

Dan Ebener, author of Strategic Planning: An Interactive Process for Leaders, and Director of Parish Planning for the Diocese of Davenport.

Every new bishop needs this book.”

Jennifer Fitz, author of The How-to Book of Evangelization: Everything You Need to Know But No-one Ever Taught You and the One Soul at a Time substack.

“Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust convincingly outlines practical pathways forward for the missionary renewal of the parish in a post-Christian, apostolic age. Her writing is accessible, her tone warm and engaging, and her scholarship deep and rich. She combines her years of practical experience in diocesan, parish, and academic settings to provide models that any parish or ministry can use to move more deeply into mission. A must-read for Church leadership!”

Julianne Stanz, Director of Parish Evangelization and Discipleship for the Diocese of Green Bay, author of Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church

The Four Ways Forward provides a winsome, robust, and, most importantly, spot-on way of seeing and understanding emerging models and principles of parish renewal, evangelization, and mission. Windley-Daoust has a gift for classifying and systematizing contemporary approaches to the New Evangelization at a high enough level to make them distinct and digestible, while also describing them with enough detail to make them eminently useful to leaders and practitioners working at the level of diocesan or parish application. This is, perhaps, one of the most important books on evangelization and renewal at this present moment. As an author, I am, frankly, jealous. As someone who works full time in the area of missionary renewal, I am SO grateful that this book exists.”

Deacon Keith Strohm, Executive Director of M3 Ministries and author of Ablaze: 5 Paradigm Shifts for Parish Renewal

About Susan Windley-Daoust

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