John Paul II Center - Milwaukee

Evangelization Contacts


Rich Harter


Margaret Rhody

Associate Director

Rosalita Villa

Administrative Assistant



1% Challenge Resources for Leaders

What is the 1% Challenge?

A tool to invite people to encounter Jesus in the Scriptures through prayer.
The 1% Challenge is a registered trademark of the Evangelical Catholic (EC). The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in collaboration with EC, developed the 30-day card.  It is the hope of the Archdiocese and the EC that many will find this card and the corresponding resources helpful for:
- getting to know Jesus by taking 1% of your day (15 minutes) to pray with Scripture for 30 Days
- introducing people to the Bible (break the Bible-barrier)
- teaching people how to pray (and to listen in prayer)
- sowing seeds of a habit (research says 12 weeks to form a habit)

Why the 1% Challenge? 

There is a difference between knowing about Jesus vs. knowing Jesus. Many in our churches may know about Jesus without actually knowing Him, His love for them, and His presence with them. 
Catholics tend not to say the name “Jesus,” and may not know his saving good news for their lives. 
If people haven’t met Jesus and had some sort of transformative encounter with the Lord, they can’t move any further--relationship with Jesus is foundational to everything we believe and practice.
Pope Benedict said it this way: “Faith is above all a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus, and to experience [His] closeness, [His] friendship, [His] Love; only in this way does one learn to know [Him] ever more, and to love and follow [Him] ever more. May this happen to each one of us.” 
Many Catholics are intimidated by the Bible or, even if they want to use it, do not know where and how to start.
Many Catholics do not know how to pray beyond the regular meal prayer or other prayers they have memorized. And many do not know how to pray with the Scriptures.
Many Catholics have not developed intentional habits of encountering Jesus in prayer and Scripture on a daily basis.
We need to help people encounter Jesus, get comfortable with the Bible, learn how to pray, and build the daily habits toward growing as intentional disciples.

How Is the 1% Challenge Designed to Be Used?

This tool is designed to be used across parish ministries in multiple situations. The key is HOW you use it – always inviting people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of Scripture and the daily habit of prayer.
Like establishing a daily exercise routine, establishing a daily prayer habit is easier with community support. Introduce the 1% Challenge in a relational or communal context so people can support and encourage each other. Even better – invite people to intentionally seek out accountability partners for the journey.

Use it as a Leadership Development Tool

Have your leaders do it first. You can’t lead someone where you haven’t been.
Use the 1% Challenge as an “entry point” for all new leaders to build the culture.

Use It as a Parish-Wide Initiative

Promote from the pulpit for all parish members to do together. 
Include related petitions in the Universal Prayer (Prayers of the Faithful) at Mass. 
Could be done strategically in a particular season (Lent, Advent) or strategically introduced as a part of a special parish event (Parish Mission, Parish anniversary, Parish Festival, Small Group Ministry Launch, etc.)
Some ideas other parishes have done - banner to sign indicating commitment to 1% Challenge, communication plan (branding it in multiple ways)

Use It in Targeted Sacramental Moments

Marriage Preparation – Couples learning to pray and know Jesus together 
Baptismal Preparation – Help parents and Godparents grow in the Lord
First Communion Preparation – Parents do this together and with their children
Confirmation Preparation – Invite students and their families to participate
RCIA – Have the Catechumens and Candidates do it with their spouses/families

Use it with Specific Target Groups 

New Church Members – make it normative for all new members
School and Religious Ed Families – Build the domestic church 
Youth Groups
Men’s and Women’s Groups and Couples
Small Group Ministry
Committees and Ministry Groups

Further Implementation Points for Leaders

Possible witness talks at the initial launch of 1% Challenge
Plan a strategy – Assume that God will move and plan for it! Think about how to collect stories or testimonies and then share those far and wide (your own congregation and beyond).
Invite/Challenge those who have completed the first 30 days to do it again as an evangelization reach in these ways:
-Invite someone to do it with you - especially someone who’s on the margins or outside of the Church 
-Ask people what they need prayer for - especially those who are not already in the Church. Share with friends, “Hey, I’m doing this 1% Challenge at Church which has me praying every day. Is there something I can pray for you?”
Be strategic about when and how to bring it back again. Especially if you’ve done a church-wide launch. Not everyone will have done it the first time, it’s important to bring it back from time to time even if you’ve already done it to reinforce the habit. (Just like exercise, diet, sleep, etc.)
Be strategic about handoff after the 30 day challenge. What is your continuing prayer plan? What do you want to invite people to do next?
-#1 Goal - people continue their personal prayer life after the 30 days as a lifelong habit.
-Help them make a personal plan to continue praying with scripture after the first 30 days
-Introduce them to Lectio Divina or other prayer practices.
1. Parish A - Had all their leaders do the Challenge, and then launched it parish-wide from the pulpit. At the end of the Challenge they invited all parishioners into small groups designed to help them grow as disciples (Discipleship Training Group).
2. Parish B - Had done the 1% Challenge parish wide, and then invited everyone in the congregation to invite 2 friends to join them in the Challenge. The parish then invited all Challengers to a seeker friendly small group.
3. Parish C - Launched the Challenge parish wide and then invited all challengers to the “Oremus” Video series.
4. Parish D – Launched the Challenge parish wide and then invited people into deeper exploration of the scriptures - Quick Journey Great Adventure or the study of a Gospel
5. Parish E - Had a few small group leaders interested but not parish-wide interest. Small group leaders introduced the Challenge to their small group members and helped them make a personal plan for continuing after the first 30 days.
For more resources for your 1% Challenge, see 1%Challenge Logo
1% Challenge Cards are available in English and Spanish and can be ordered by contacting Rosalita Villa at 414-758-2217 or online with this Order Form
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