Every generation produces a handful of game changing leaders in the Church, and Matthew Kelly is certainly one of ours. Matthew was born in Sydney, Australia—hence his enviable accent which makes anything he says sound brilliant—and he began speaking and writing in his late teens while he was attending business school. Since then, he’s become one of the most successful business and motivational speakers in the world.
Matthew runs a Chicago-based management-consulting firm named Floyd Consulting and his clients include Procter and Gamble, Chick-fil-A, General Electric, Pepsi, FedEx, HSBC, the Department of Defense, McDonalds, US Bank, 3M, Ernst & Young, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies.
Among Catholics, though, Matthew is best known for his powerful speaking, his Dynamic Catholic ministry, and his bestselling books. More than four million people have attended his seminars and presentations in more than fifty countries.In 2009, Matthew founded Dynamic Catholic to “re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism.” The ministry has done that through mega-best-selling books like Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, which parishes can purchase for $2-$3 apiece and pass out at Easter and Christmas. Matthew’s books have been published in twenty-five languages, have appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists, and have sold over fifteen million copies.
Next week, Matthew will release his newest book titled Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation. Designed as the follow-up to Rediscover Catholicism, the book takes readers on a 40-day journey from knowing about Jesus to knowing him personally and intimately.
Here’s Matthew briefly introducing the book:
Today, as part of the #RediscoverJesus blog tour, I’m excited to sit down and Matthew and discuss the new book, the importance of developing a personal relationship with Jesus, and future plans for Dynamic Catholic. Enjoy!
BRANDON VOGT: The mission or your organization, Dynamic Catholic, is to “re-energize the Catholic Church in America” and inspire people to “rediscover the genius of Catholicism.” How does Rediscover Jesus fit into that mission?
MATTHEW KELLY: When we set out to explore the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics, we discovered that the central difference was that highly engaged Catholics have a daily routine of prayer. If we don’t teach people how to pray, nothing will change. To energize Catholics we must engage them, and that means teaching them to develop a daily routine of prayer—helping them develop a life-changing friendship with Jesus.
BRANDON VOGT: Rediscover Jesus is the sequel to Rediscover Catholicism, which has sold more than seven million copies and is the bestselling Catholic book in American history, other than the Bible. How do the two books tie together? Which would you give to a fallen-away Catholic first?
MATTHEW KELLY: Rediscover Catholicism focused on the genius of Catholicism, and Catholic spirituality in general. Rediscover Jesus is about taking a fresh look at the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, taking an inventory of our lives side by side with the Gospel, and embracing the challenge to grow. Choosing the right book to give to some is an art that I think requires a real sense of what a particular person is struggling with. I think both of these books will meet people where they are and lead them to where God is calling them to be.
BRANDON VOGT: Your new book includes 40 short, devotional entries instead of long narrative chapters. Why that format, with the “40-day journey”?
MATTHEW KELLY: When I was young I wanted to write books that people would want to read. Now I want to write books that people will live. When I write I am constantly trying to find ways to personalize it for the reader, so that the ideas can come to life in a person’s life. The Church understands that our lives change when our habits change, and forty days is the perfect time to form new habits.
BRANDON VOGT: The New Evangelization seems predicated on “re-“. Recent Popes have encouraged us to re-propose, re-tell, remind, and–per your book–help people rediscover the radiance of Christ. But that “re-” presumes people have already had some contact with Jesus, if perhaps long ago or superficially. Why do you think people need to “rediscover” Jesus? Which distorted views of him need to be healed?
MATTHEW KELLY: When I come back from a trip, however long or short, I get the joy of rediscovering my wife and children. It is a beautiful thing to rediscover people and places. In the same way it is a joy to rediscover the true Jesus and his true message.
Sometimes it is distorted views of Jesus that need to be healed, and sometimes we need to confront distorted views of ourselves. One of the essential problems of Christianity at this moment in history is that most people think they are pretty good Christians—even non-Christians. But compared to what? We find comparisons to comfort ourselves, but when we measure our lives against the Gospel we are challenged to change.
BRANDON VOGT: Some Catholics are uncomfortable with the idea of pursuing a “personal relationship with Jesus” or “knowing Jesus in a real and personal way.” They think it sounds “too Protestant”. Is that true?
MATTHEW KELLY: That’s like saying Coke isn’t the original cola. Long before a single Protestant even existed, the saints had dynamic personal relationships with Jesus. I think deep down we all long for it. I think many are uncomfortable with it because they know they don’t have it, and more importantly, they don’t know how to get it. It is my hope that Rediscover Jesus will help many to develop it.
BRANDON VOGT: In the book, you emphasize the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. How do we make this transition? How do we truly encounter Jesus?
MATTHEW KELLY: In ancient times, if you were a student you had a particular teacher, and you sat at his feet for many hours each day, learning. A disciple of Jesus needs to sit at his feet for at least a few minutes each day, to learn and be encouraged, to take instruction, and be given instruction for the day. We encounter Jesus in many ways, but the daily encounter in prayer is indispensible if we are to make progress spiritually.
BRANDON VOGT: Even while only available for pre-order, Rediscover Jesus soared up the bestseller lists, which means lots of people are buying it for themselves and friends. But what’s the larger plan for the book? Will it be part of the Dynamic Catholic Book Program? How can pastors order copies for their whole parish?
MATTHEW KELLY: Yes, the hardcover will be released on August 17, and I don’t know why, but I am always surprised when a book hits all the bestseller lists. And yes, it will be available in the Dynamic Catholic Book Program this Christmas, so we hope many parishes will give a copy to parishioners and visitors at Christmas Mass. Christmas is our best chance to re-engage disengaged Catholics each year.
This post is a part of the #RediscoverJesus blog tour hosted by Dynamic Catholic. You can pre-order your copy of Rediscover Jesus on either Amazon.com. Readers who pre-order the book by August 16, 2015, have a chance to win one of several prizes, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy with Matthew and those going on the Dynamic Catholic Pilgrimage to Rome this November.
To learn more about this sweepstakes, visit DynamicCatholic.com/RediscoverJesus/entry. Anyone who pre-orders the book will also have access to an exclusive webinar with Matthew, during which he will talk about his writing process, why he decided to write Rediscover Jesus, and why he thinks this is the most important book he has ever written.
Thank you for participating in the ! To read tomorrow’s stop on the #RediscoverJesus blog tour, please visit my friend Kathy Schiffer at Seasons of Grace.