Paul George, co-founder of Adore Ministries, has traveled the world proclaiming God’s love and freedom as a parish youth minister, diocesan director, author, and full-time evangelist. He also directs the campus ministry program at University of Louisiana/Our Lady of Wisdom Parish and serves as a professor of theology at the Aquinas Institute on campus. The CatholicMatch Institute spoke to Paul George, about his work as an evangelist, his involvement in Steubenville’s Encounter Young Adult Conference in St. Louis (May 30-June 1), and how the Encounter Young Adult Conference will help young Catholics to grow in their faith.
You founded Adore Ministries in 2004. How do you think it has helped Catholics to better share their faith?
I co-founded Adore in 2004 with Fr. Mark Toups. Adore’s mission remains the same today. In short, to bring the Gospel of Jesus to individuals, families, communities, neighborhoods and cities, as well as to form and empower those people to live their faith in the everyday of life. In doing this, people share their faith by sharing their life, and by sharing their life, they share their faith. Thus, faith becomes a part of their DNA; you can’t separate faith in Christ from the individual.
As an evangelist, what do you think Catholics can do to be better prepared for evangelization?
There are many things that Catholics can do to prepare for evangelization, but I think what is essential to sharing the faith is making your relationship with Christ a priority. This is done by spending time in prayer, learning, serving, and encountering the Sacraments. All these things help to form and empower the individual to live their faith out in the world.
You will be speaking at the Encounter Young Adult Conference this year. What is the conference about?
I am very excited about the Encounter Young Adult Conference. This is going to be an amazing opportunity for young adults, and I am glad to be a part of it. I think the name of the conference gives us a glimpse into the weekend. It’s going to be a time to encounter the living God—in worship, talks, the Sacraments, community, and prayer. I can’t imagine a better weekend for young adults.
How can Catholics better “encounter” Christ and what do you recommend that they do practically to continue to grow closer to God after the conference?
We are all unique and we all come with different needs, desires, and questions. God knows this. It is my hope that God will encounter each person individually, uniquely, and personally during the weekend. I hope each person will leave the conference knowing their purpose and be empowered to live it out.
Conferences are only a tool to help us grow; the real growth happens after the conference. However, everything we hope to do at the conference is to model and teach what we can do when we go home. Attendees will learn to pray, worship, grow, and commune. What happens at the conference goes home with us. The conference is the opposite of the Vegas philosophy!
What would you say to a young Catholic who is considering coming to the conference, but needs some encouragement?
Usually, when I ask someone if they want to go to a conference or retreat, their first reaction is to say, “Yes, that would be cool; I could really use it.” They then start thinking of excuses not to go. Those excuses take over, and they end up backing out. I’d say, “Go with your first reaction…You want to go, you need to go, so…Go!” Don’t let the small excuses get in the way of you having an amazing weekend.
I know that commitment is hard for young adults because their are so many options out there. Each weekend, there are many things that vie for our time, attention and money. Yet, how many of those things invest back in us? This weekend is an investment back into each person and it’s an investment worth taking.
For more information and to register for the Encounter Young Adult Conference, visit their website.