Is Jesus the Defining Characteristic of Your Life?

Dave “Don’t Fear the Reaper” Van Vickle and I are talking about how to keep Jesus at the heart of your ministry and your life.

Today’s totally made up middle name for Dave is brought to you by listener Lina, who also asks the questions that we are answering in this show – thank you Lina! 

We’re talking about the vine, the branches, and the backyard … (Dave bought a new house). We start with how to open your home to engage the culture and build community and then get to a question from Lina who asks, “What are the practical steps to stay grafted onto the vine when you’ve been sent to work out in the vineyard?” 

In other words, how do we keep Jesus as the defining characteristic of our life when we feel called to go off and do great things on our own or within our parish?

Click on the player above to listen to this episode, or scroll down for the shownotes.  

We want to hear from you! Email us at with your story, question, or comment—or if you’ve got a new nickname for Dave.

Snippet from the Show

“The presence of suffering and persecution is the way that God makes you better, stronger, and woven even tighter with Christ the vine.”


Question from Listener, Lina:

1. If you’ve properly discerned that you’re called to do something in ministry, how do you stay true to God’s will in an on-going manner? The line from the Soul of the Apostolate that most convicted me was, “God, move aside the obstacles and watch me work.” I think I’ve been guilty of that many times, despite having felt confident that I prayerfully discerned correctly at the onset that I was called to start something new. What are the practical steps to stay grafted onto the vine when you’ve been sent to work out in the vineyard?

2. We have no organized plan for discipleship and very few efforts at evangelization at our parish. Things seem often ad-hoc, one-off, and or last-minute. However, we are finishing up the Be My Witness program from Renew and are starting to craft a strategic Pastoral Plan for the next few years. What are your best suggestions for keeping Jesus, mission, evangelization at the heart of our plan?

Revelation 3:14-17 – “And to the angel of the Church in La-odicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.’”

John 15:1-2 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

5 Practical Tips

  1. Read the Thresholds chapters from Forming Intentional Disciples. Realize your plan should reflect each stage of the thresholds.
  2. Make your own parish plan for evangelization.
  3. Pray for the humility and boldness of our evangelists and catechists.
  4. Read The Soul of the Apostolate, Part One, chapters 1 and 2.
  5. Community: Set up a meeting with your priest and ask him where he sees the greatest need in the parish or in the community at large.

Meet Your Hosts

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past ten years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses, and Catholic campus ministries.

He is also the founder and creative director of, and the producer and cohost of a Catholic young adult podcast Catching Foxes, which discusses the collision of Faith and Culture.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon. Together they have about 1,000 children and get about 3 hours of sleep a night, which is alright by him.

David “Dave” VanVickle

David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen. Since then, he has dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

He is a speaker and retreat leader. His programs focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Amber and their five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.

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