I’m reviewing The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly. Read on to find out how to get a FREE copy!
Ease of reading: Very easy, not dense
Length: 216 pages – takes about 1 week, reading 30 min per day
This post may contain affiliate links, please read my Terms and Conditions for more information.
The essence of the book is that only 7% of Catholics in the US are highly engaged with the Church, and if we can just get 1% more on board, it could revitalize Catholicism.
Naturally, I wondered whether I’m part of the 7%.
As the title indicates, there are 4 signs that someone is part of this 7%. As Kelly explains in his book, his institute conducted a major study of Catholic churches across the country The 7%-ers are living out the following things:
- continuous learning/study about the faith
Matthew Kelly asks you to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of how you think you exemplify these signs. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest.
How I rated myself:
- prayer= 7
- continuous learning= 7
- generosity= 5
- evangelization= 5
- Total= 24
The 7% in his book got an average of 26. (Ok, so maybe I’m not part of the 7%, but I’m working on it!)
Each of the 4 signs has its own section, describing what a Dynamic Catholic’s prayer life looks like or how they evangelize (hint: it’s different for everyone and even the 7%-ers didn’t realize some of the ways they were already evangelizing).
Each section also includes small ways you can grow into each sign even more. Kelly argues that small changes everyday lead to transformational growth – and I agree!
Finally, each sign’s section ended with a summary of key points, which I think is great because if you’re short on time, you could read those, or if you finish the book and want to go back for a refresher, it’s easy to find.
Quotes about Money
I think I’ve well-documented that I’m a personal finance dork and love a spiritual approach to money! So imagine my delight that Kelly spoke about the big role it plays in our lives and our Faith:
“If we really want to help people grow spiritually, it is essential that we help them develop a healthy relationship with money.”
“When people say the Church only ever talks about money, there is often a deeper cry here. Maybe this is why Jesus spoke about money so much, because he realized that in our spiritual development money is either an opportunity for growth or an obstacle to it.”
Evangelization was the “sign” people rated themselves lowest on.
”Most Catholics don’t evangelize because they don’t actually believe Catholicism is a superior way of life. So why would they want to share it? They have not been won. Until we are won, we don’t have the passion, that fire in our belly, to attract anyone else – and Christianity only genuinely grows through attraction (p 174).”
What I learned is that it’s vital to understand why people are leaving the Church in order to “win” them back! The book is very good at explaining why people have left. For example, a lot of Catholics go to mega churches now – and it wasn’t for the reasons I expected (you’ll have to read to find out)!
Kelly says we need to figure out how to “win” people over. He offers some ideas (live out the Faith and others will be drawn to it; develop true friendships; help people find answers to their questions about Catholicism), but I would’ve liked more specifics perhaps on evangelizing in the work place or being a witness in everyday life, like while shopping or traveling. What does a Dynamic Catholic look like at the grocery store?
Kelly also proposes some great ideas to ensure there is somewhat of a universal education for Catholics Moments, as he calls them (world-class training/best practices for Baptism, Confession, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage Prep, RCIA, Lent, Advent). The best analogy I can think of is that it’s somewhat like the Common Core. Basically, no matter where you live in the US, you’d learn the same material and same best practices for each Catholic Moment. Dynamic Catholic is keeping its promise to develop world-class programs for all of the moments.
I think ALL Catholics should read this and arm themselves with the knowledge inside! The biggest thing I learned is that everyone’s journey to the Faith is different, but we can all play in role in bringing people closer to Jesus (even if you don’t realize it).
Get a FREE paperback copy of the book from Dynamic Catholic (just pay shipping)! They’re on a mission to reinvigorate the Catholic Church so they make it really easy for people to get their hands on books.
If you want more copies for yourself, friends, or family, you can buy The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic on Amazon! You can also checkout using Amazon Smile so .5% of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice.
If you get the book and read add it or have read it, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!