Here is my monthly report on projects, goals, and the lessons I learned along the way.
My 2021 Goals
543,183/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+1,453 words)
711/1,000 Resources (Videos/Worksheets) for Members of The Religion Teacher (+6 resources)
36/24 Books Read (+5 books including The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, and What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Marukami)
37/73 Books of the Bible read from beginning to end (+1 book read)
72/100 30-minute workouts (+7 workouts)
How I Spent My Time in September 2021
- 20:00 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 15:32 – Speaking Events (Diocese of Venice)
- 12:01 – The Religion Teacher Membership Re-Launch
- 7:32 – Morning Preview
- 5:38 – Daily Review
- 5:17 – The Religion Teacher Blog Posts (Mini-RE3 Lesson Plans)
- 3:08 – The Religion Teacher Newsletter
- 3:00 – Social Media
- 2:43 – Weekly Review
- 2:25 – The Religion Teacher Saint Worksheets
Total Time: 99:11 Hours
September 2021 Highlights & Lessons Learned
The Religion Teacher Membership Fall Launch
I like to begin each school year in September with an email series to remind religious educators of our mission. This year I focused on the need to make religion more relatable.
Here’s an excerpt from one of the emails:
I was listening to a podcast while on a run this summer and I nearly stumbled when I heard the host say something that hurt my heart.
I won’t give the name of the podcast or the host, but he is a very devout Christian. He recently had a profound conversion experience and strives to combine his gifts for motivation and entrepreneurship with his love of God.
I listened to a few of his podcast episodes and really appreciated his passion. It gave me a boost I needed in my own COVID spiritual hangover.
But something he said on that particular episode really hit me. I’ll paraphrase:
“You don’t need religion. You just need a strong relationship with God.”
The sad thing was, his argument against religion made a lot of sense and I’m the guy with a website called The RELIGION Teacher!
The truth is, what you and I might see as the greatest obstacle to an encounter with Christ is different than what our students and their parents might think.
If you asked people who grew up going to Catholic schools or parish religious education programs about why they drifted away, the answers are going to be pretty similar.
Like that podcast host, many people believe religion (yes, religion!) didn’t help them form a relationship with God, or worse, pushed them away.
According to kids and parents, the greatest obstacle to encountering Christ . . . the greatest obstacle to a relationship with God is . . . religion.
Not our actual religion, but the perception that kids and parents have about religion.
We are in a crisis right now.
People do not find religion relatable anymore.
Worse yet, they would rather try to cultivate a relationship with God on their own without religion.
According to a Gallup poll from just a few months ago, less than half the people in the United States (47%) belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque.
The question is: what do we do with that 47% that belong to our parish or attend our school?
How do we make an impact on the kids in our schools and ministries?
Kids (especially as teenagers) question tough teachings and grow to dislike the Church because of them.
Many families only come to church on Christmas and Easter.
Out of this series of emails, I shared a simple system that is working for me in religious education. I gave it a name to be easier to remember
The RE3 Framework:
You can read about The RE3 Framework here.
Is it the perfect solution? No, but most religious educators only focus on step one. They teach religion but stop short of dedicating the time needed to give kids an encounter with Christ, not just an education about Christ.
After the email series I invited email newsletter subscribers to become members of The Religion Teacher to access 700+ worksheets and videos to lead kids into an encounter with Christ.
Florida in the Fall
It was great to be back on stage giving a keynote talk at an in-person conference. The audience in Ft. Myers, Florida, responded well and I was able to set up a table and sell books with some help from the diocesan office. It was great to finally go to the event after years of postponing it due to COVID.
I love speaking, but the travel is tough on the family. I’ve mentioned this often in this monthly reports, but I am blessed that speaking isn’t my #1 source of income.
As an added bonus, however, I got to visit my stepdad who recently moved down there. He’s only been in Florida for few months so I was grateful for the opportunity to see his new place.
Jay Clouse started a Twitter challenge of tweeting for 100 day straight. I loved the idea and jumped on board. I spent about 3 hours writing tweets throughout the month.
I enjoyed it, but I was hoping to make more connections with the other participants. It’s my fault. Juggling my work time and family time didn’t make it easy to find the mental energy I needed to reach out to people and build relationships online. Spending time on social media always feels like a distraction from the real work I want to get done.
Here are a few of my favorite tweets from the challenge: