This pandemic will forever change our lives, our families, our parishes, and our Dioceses. In short: jobs have been eliminated, plans upturned, and lives lost throughout the past six months.
When we set out to name this new online ministry to create world-class courses, we landed on the name “Revive” not to imply that our parishes are dead, but instead to inspire an image of revival. Revival (and the Holy Spirit) are usually represented by a flame… both a mysterious force and powerful energy. A fire burns hot, the flames go every which way, and the heat warms those gathered around, encouraging the best of stories, providing a source of energy for nourishment, and bringing people together in unity.
As we reflected on the challenges of 2020 and asked God to lead our ministry through these times of uncertainty, the image of revival became more and more apparent to our team. Something big had to happen – a new fire! I would love to share some of the key insights we realized and how we were led to making the monumental decision to make Revive completely free.
First, we became incredibly convicted that the events of 2020 are shaping up to become a missionary moment for the Church: People (even those who abandoned their faith) are genuinely searching for meaning in light of the pandemic. And as a Church, it is our responsibility to meet them and bring the Good News in new ways. This has always been our mission, and Pope Paul VI says, “Evangelization is [the Church’s] deepest identity. The Church exists to evangelize, that is, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace…” When we think about our families, parishes, and communities, we must humbly admit all eyes are on believers – people are looking to the Church for hope, peace, and a purpose. How will we meet them boldly? How will we invite them into a relationship with Jesus? How will we minister to them?
Second, parishes and dioceses have been impacted financially by decreasing donations due to the economic downturn, severely limiting their ability to invest in services like training, conferences, or additional ministry services. Many parishes have had to cut their budgets dramatically, and many Diocesan offices have slashed their expenses by as much as 50% to continue providing support to pastors and their communities.
Third, many parishes have, unfortunately, eliminated staff members, leaving a ministry gap and critical responsibilities to be filled by volunteers or added to existing staff. With limited budgets available, these ministers are now forced to lift the burden without additional training and support.
Finally, we have genuinely received an outpouring of positive feedback on our courses. We have heard from dozens of pastors, leaders, Diocesan staff members, and volunteers about the sheer power of education — the new skills they’ve learned, the confidence they’ve gained, and the empowerment they have received. At the core, the excellence of our courses is not us — it is the experts! Their dedication, organization, skill, and care shine through the screen… and their teaching is making a difference.
In light of these insights, we prayed for the grace to serve the Church in this moment of great need. The Holy Spirit inspired us to act boldly – if we truly believed this time is a missionary opportunity, we had to pivot and respond. We had to do things differently, create a new path, change the mold, and forge ahead. And at that moment, we decided to transition Revive into a nonprofit organization with full access to every course (present and in the future) available free of charge to parish leaders. We asked benefactors and partner organizations to respond alongside us, and they did so with great enthusiasm.
This story is not about us. It is not about courses. It is not about experts. It is about the Church, her mission, and the great potential of you, a parish leader. A pastor, a staff member, a volunteer. A man or woman who has committed your energy to help people meet Christ. You are the reason we have created Revive, and you are the reason we will continue to build our platform. Your formation, your goals, the challenges you face in ministry – these are the reasons we work to
We believe in revival, and may our small contribution to your ministry be the fire that unites, warms, and sustains you when it gets hard or when you look to grow. We are on your team, we believe in you, and we can’t wait to see where God leads you and your parish as you commit to revival.
Dan, Edmundo, Tim, John, and Anna