Summary of Clear and Simple: How to Have Conversations that Lead to Conversion by Andre Regnier

“If you were sitting in a coffee shop with a good friend and they said, “I want the kind of faith that you have,” and you had 10 minutes to respond, what would you say?” (5)

Here are the key insight I got from this book:

Marriage: The Icon of a Genuine Encounter with God

The greatest manifestation of encounter in human terms is that between husband and wife. There is no more intimate and transformative human relationship than this lifelong, life-giving one between a man and a woman.

  • In the sacrament of matrimony, couples freely give their consent, not out of fear or manipulation, but rather by a desire for an exclusive and life-giving relationship.
  • In married life, couples must pursue a life-long commitment requiring generosity, chastity, humility, and a willingness to work together.
  • This is why God uses marital language to express his relationship with us throughout Scripture.

Taking marriage as the icon of encounter, we can take a deeper dive into 3 critical aspects of our role in this encounter:

1st – The Will: Ours to activate

Consent, which is “an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear” (CCC 1628), is essential for a valid marriage.

In accompanying someone to the Lord, never assume they have made this choice of faith, this total “yes”.

Ask yourself: “Has this person ever given a free, mature “yes” to the offer of a relationship with God through Christ?”

The will, though, is not just used once (for the initial conversion event) and then forgotten. No, it is a daily choice (for the ongoing conversion events). Just as in marriage, couples need to commit every single day to love each other, the same is with the Lord. The deep intimacy of a couple married 50 years is the fruit of daily choices of the will to love each other.

“We are to accompany, with loving and faithful intentionality, the people in our lives as they journey towards the Lord, so that they can personally encounter Jesus and become disciples of Christ” (7).

2nd – The Intellect: Having clarity about what we are saying “yes” to

Just as “preparation for marriage is of prime importance” (CCC 1632) to understand what marriage actually is, the same is true with an encounter with God. We need to hear and understand what the invitation to an encounter with God actually is.

This invitation is essentially the kerygma, a Greek word meaning “proclamation,” and which the Church uses to mean “the essential Gospel proclamation.” Click here for a CCO Podcast episode on their 4-part presentation of the kerygma.

Ask yourself: Has this person clearly heard the kerygma being proclaimed to them in a way they can respond to it? Are they clear about what is being offered to them?

Ask yourself: Am I proposing God’s love, or am I proposing devotions and doctrines? (50).

3rd – The Heart: Desires

Just as an essential quality of the marriage relationship is a desire for greater intimacy with an individual person, Christian discipleship engages the desires of our hearts for real intimacy and union.

“Believing is not an act of the understanding alone, not simply an act of the will, not just an act of feeling, but an act in which all the spiritual powers of man are at work together” (Pope Benedict XVI, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith).

To engage the desires of the heart of the person you’re accompanying, you must treat the person with utmost respect and dignity. Don’t treat them as a “conversion project.” Each soul is individually and infinitely precious to God. Seek to build genuine & loving relationships with them. Engage in prophetic listening – prayerful listening to the way a person talks about themselves, God and the world, asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand where the person is on their spiritual journey (To assess whether this person is ready to make a free, mature “yes”, check out Sherry Weddell’s 5 Thresholds of Conversion by clicking here).

Pray hard (the Holy Spirit is the big mover in their hearts).

Respect their “no” and celebrate their “yes.”

Ask questions to seek greater clarity to help the person reflect on the state of their soul and their relationship with the Lord. Click here for a great resource on going deeper for Intentional Accompaniment.

“The main role of the missionary during an intentional spiritual conversation should almost always be less that of a speaker than it is that of a listener” (60)

Comments

  1. Wonderful! Thank you Father Richard, thanks a lot for what you’re doing! Keep drawing closer to Christ! I am a fan from Panama, Central America…. Peace of Christ!

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