missionary discipleship

Healing and Wonders Model

The “healing and wonders” model is rooted in a reading of the gospels and the book of Acts that Jesus Christ called people to recognize him as the Christ through signs, wonders, and healing—and through those signs and wonders, to follow him.


The apostles worked many signs and miracles among the people. One in heart, they all used to meet in the Portico of Solomon.


No one else dared to join them, but the people were loud in their praise and the numbers of men and women who came to believe in the Lord increased steadily. Many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles so that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past.

Acts 5:12-15


While people tend to read this and say, “We’re not in the Book of Acts! We’re not Peter!”, this evangelization model has been employed in many regions of the world to life-changing effect. It takes people who are willing to step into the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus. This model focuses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially those that publically give witness to God’s power to change lives, as evidence in a secular world that Jesus Christ is the living God. However, through the gospels, every healing encounter with Jesus Christ was embedded with a call: the call to follow him. This is not about being showy. It is about Jesus Christ being the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And this model honors Christ as our Divine Physician, recognizing that the healing he always wants for us is our spiritual healing, and while we cannot predict what Jesus will do, we can trust him with our lives.

If people are unclear with the idea that this could be a parish model, Christ the King Church in Ann Arbor, MI is one of the most vital parishes in the United States, in terms of intentional discipleship, engagement, and vocations. This is their prominent model.

There are two versions of this model:

  1. Publicly praying for the gifts of the Spirit. This model is best exemplified currently by Renewal Ministries, Encounter Ministries, the international Cor et Lumen Christi community, and Life in the Spirit Seminars. Encounter Ministries, led by Fr. Matthias Thelen and Patrick Reis, is a focused example of calling upon the gifts of the Spirit for evangelization. A less “public square” version of praying for the Lord’s healing is Unbound prayer ministry. Parishes can invite the Unbound trained prayer teams into their parish for a healing event. Unbound may be found in our diocese here.
  2. Witnessing to the power of God in your life. Catholic Evangelization Outreach (founded in Cedar Rapids, IA) uses this insight to encourage parishes to make space for witness talks on a regular basis, teaching people how to share the story of God operating in their lives and giving space to promote it and honor it. Church of the Resurrection has a very active CEO apostolate for the Rochester area, and it is a simple process to replicate.