As I’ve written before, busy isn’t the same as vibrant–and it can actually distract from growing disciples in a parish or ministry. Following the principle of alignment and focus in all areas of parish life, I think too many parishes attempt to do too much, and the important things get lost among the choices for “involvement” offered to visitors and regulars.
From the Evangelical Catholic’s outstanding (and free) training resources, here’s a clear articulation of why:
“The two main reason significant number of students do not attend the formational programming a ministry offers [and I think this applies to people in a parish as well]…
1. the initiatory catechesis is taught by staff as concepts in classroom style instead of relationally shared by peers who have already related the teachings and ways of Christ to their own lives. (Faith is more easily caught than taught.)
2. Most importantly, any initiatory catechesis a ministry may offer, no matter what style, is presented as part of a BIG MENU – one of myriad options of clubs, groups and committees available to the new student.
- The “big menu” is a disaster, squandering the tremendous curiosity, energy and openness with which students arrive on campus on niche programming, some of which might be very good and necessary parts of following Christ, but are in no way styled to establish students as committed believers who want to follow and learn from Christ as his disciples/students, and to ultimately be able to help others do the same.
Note: “Even liturgical ministries should be less prominent than small groups or peer discipling.”
Nice. I’ve heard of a parish that dropped the endless menu of options to get folks to focus on Alpha small groups. It worked. Any other success stories out there about the counter-intuitive benefits of limiting options?