Resource Review of “AmazingParish.org”

Last week a new web resource called AmazingParish.org debuted. The website is a little sparse right now, but I’m assuming it’s meant to grow. The layout is clean and fresh, and easy to navigate.

What’s to Love:

  • the focus on parishes 🙂 all too often attention goes to lay movements, distinct apostolates, etc. as the places for “real” spiritual growth. The problem with that mentality is that the vast majority of people who need conversion and a path of discipleship are in parishes. This site responds to that need.
  • the seven traits of an amazing parish — what I really like about this is the split of naming 3 of the traits as foundational (a real leadership team, a vision, and prayer). Way too often, we in parishes start with the other 4 traits (Sunday experience, faith formation, small groups, and/or missionary zeal) before the foundation is in place. While this can have some success, I’ve never seen a real cultural change in a parish where the foundation isn’t in place.
  • a free conference for parish leaders. Many parishes don’t have big [any!] budgets for leadership training or development. Donors are helping keep costs to a minimum here. A nice step too, would be webcasting the conference or offering recordings of sessions for free download (for those of us who are volunteers and can’t travel to Colorado).

What’s a Little Off, Odd, Incomplete, or Curious:

  • Under Homilies, they write that the best homilies are “relatively short and too the point,” yet, their resources (and headline video for the Weekend Experience section) include Fr. Michael White from Church of the Nativity (Rebuilt parish), where preaching is usually 18-30 min long. Now, I love the preaching from Church of the Nativity, and think that part of what allows it to be of such quality, is the length. Encouraging Catholic preachers to be “relatively short” is kind of scary language for me, since more often than not, I hear great messages that end way too soon–before it’s repeated enough to make an impact, or before the action steps have time to sink in.
  • Preserving the Liturgy” just strikes me as an odd title. Liturgy isn’t some static item to be preserved. It’s not history. It doesn’t belong in a museum. It’s living. It’s the fully alive prayer of the Church. Embracing liturgy, living liturgy, etc. these would all seem to convey our beliefs better than “preserving.” As of this week, there are no resources in this section…so maybe as links are added it will become clearer.
  • How do we join the conversation? So far, the website brings together some good resources, but how do we who are working to form amazing parishes have conversation? Talk about these resources? Share ideas? A comment box might be helpful (though, I understand they can be a hassle to maintain). Maybe a designated hashtag? Something to encourage conversation would be great!

Overall, definitely a site to keep your eyes on. And, a great starting point for parish leaders who are new to forming a vision for how a truly excellent parish functions. 

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