As part of a committee I am on, we are reading the book:
Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples, Sherry A. Weddell, Editor
The Catholic Church, much like other denominations, are facing dropping numbers of active parishioners.
Growing up Methodist, becoming Catholic, and working in other denominations as a musician I can say the loss of focus is across the board.
While some denominations, for example have offered classes for lay leaders for years, the idea of intentionally forming disciples within a parish is foreign to many. Even the parishes with active lay leaders, often lack the knowledge/ability to create disciples among their congregation.
Regardless of what variation of Christian you are
Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples
would be a good place to start.
specifically the chapter that talks about the differences between a
“Maintenance-Driven Parish” vs a “Mission Driven Parish”
think about it
is your church focused on doing things the way they’ve always been done, and led by the people that have always done the leading and deciding
is your church focused on bringing people to a closer relationship with God/Jesus , and a desire within them to share that love others.
Does your church seek out the congregation members who are on the sideline,
or do they stay in their comfortable cliques
In the chapter “A Parish Moves Ahead” it was perhaps perfectly stated :
Many in the parish gave countless hours and a portion of their resources in support of hte parish and its activities. These faithful, longtime parishioners had a vested interest in the parish, and the success of any paradigm shift rested in part upon their ability to embrace and participate in future changes.
so I ask…how do we as a parish create this “vested interest” in new generations of disciples?
it is not going to be done by the exclusionary attitudes of many congregations…”this is how it has always been done and it is the only way”…. for example
NO, in order to form intentional disciples we must embrace the full body of Christ, those within our walls and those outside our walls.
We must open our arms to discussions, within the our very buildings and committees
The questions must revolve around
Do we want to only keep doing what we’ve been doing?
Do we want to move forward as intentional followers/disciples of Christ, opening our hearts and minds to the world in need around us?
I’m sure moving forward as a mission parish is a difficult job, a real shift in what the focus is…but there are parishes that do this
some of the smaller parishes I’ve worked for do this much better than the larger churches….providing outreach in ways that would shame the large church, more concerned with logistics than just digging in and moving forward.
it’s time to be shepherds with the smell of sheep that’s what Pope Francis says.
time to move away from your cliques and get among the people
Look it’s simple we are sent to share the good news and make new disciples
you can’t do that sitting in your pew only acknowledging the friends you already have.