By JOANNE FOX
When Chris Stefanick comes to Sioux City to talk about his faith, it’s much more than just a “talk.”
“Jesus came so that we might have life,” the internationally-acclaimed author and speaker said. “For all the struggles in the world, we will find life in him and I work with parishes to invite people to find that. I want to partner with people on the ground level about their faith.”
The dynamic speaker will bring that message to a Reboot event, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., Oct. 17 at Mater Dei Parish, Nativity Church, Sioux City.
Stefanick recalled being lukewarm in his faith growing up in New Jersey.
“My parents dragged me off against my will to a retreat,” he said. “I was an eighth grade kid, and I wanted to be a rock star.”
The retreat transformed the teenager.
“It wasn’t just the speakers or the music, it was the people,” he said. “I realized I was going in the wrong direction in my life. My folks may have forced me, but God sent me. I realized I was dead, and these people were alive.”
Since that eye-opening event, Stefanick graduated from Franciscan University, Steubenville, married his college sweetheart, had six children and worked in parish youth ministry in East Los Angeles, the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., and the Archdiocese of Denver in youth and young adult ministry.
“For all the bad news that’s going on in our Catholic faith right now, all I see is good news everywhere I go,” he said. “I see hope ignited in people’s eyes.”
Stefanick used all his previous experience and all those work opportunities to build his own non-profit, full-time ministry: Real Life Catholic in 2012.
“Oh yes, that was a leap of faith,” he said. “I remember the terror of jumping out on my own. But one of the consolations, I saw businesses, who did the same way and I was doing it for the Lord.”
Today, Stefanick’s live seminars reach more than 85,000 people per year. His videos and radio spots reach more than one million people per month, every month.
“The vision of Real Life Catholic is very clear: It’s to tell the story of Christ and that’s what we do,” he said. “In fact, it has enabled us to give away more than $1 million in Catholic media.”
Stefanick has devoted his life to inspiring people to live a bold, contagious faith; thus, presenting Reboot is truly indicative of its name.
“It’s a call to come back to the faith no matter where you are in your faith life,” he said. “It is relevant for those who are away from the church and for those who are committed to the church, because everyone needs to reboot their faith life.”
To balance his personal life with his professional life like almost anyone tries to do, Stefanick limits his Reboot travels to Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“It’s a challenge to travel and be away from my family,” he said. “Most of the time I rely on Divine Providence to make everything work.”
Stefanick’s educational initiatives are turning-the-tide in the Catholic Church. He has authored what is being called the best confirmation program already used by almost 100,000 teens per week in the English language: Chosen.
“We need to focus on the fruits of our lives,” the Real Life founder said. “I see hope ignited in people’s life journeys through our initiatives.”
It was Stefanick’s hope that people would not just purchase one ticket, but maybe two or three to Reboot.
“Not to benefit me,” he clarified. “But people need to be invited to something like this, so Reboot might be the catalyst that might be the conversion point in their life.”
Tickets to the event are $22. For more information, call (712) 898-7513 or visit RealLifeCatholic.com/reboot.