Why Do People Start Attending Church More?

One more intriguing tidbit from the Pew Research Center in this  new study: insight into the factors common among those who now attend religious services more regularly than they used to. 

First off, how common is it for a person to increase their rate of religious attendance? 27% of Americans fall into this category–a reminder that, despite some popular perceptions, we actually live in a very open and curious society, where many are experiencing changes in their religious practices toward the positive.

pf_2016_08_23-ch2-01So how do these Americans explain the reasons for changes? 

  • 49% mention changes in their personal religious beliefs as the main reason for attending more often
  • 23% mention social factors, including changes in family structure (such as marriage or the birth of a child), entering different phases of life (e.g., going to college, joining the military, etc.) or a desire for fellowship or community
  • 20%  mention practical changes, such as having a work schedule that permits them to attend church more often now than in the past

Implications for Ministry:

  1. Changes in belief matter more than anything else. What beliefs are adults learning and entering into more deeply in your parish life? Is what’s emphasized the most something that would inspire increases in practice?
  2. Times of social transition are opportunities. This means thinking beyond sacramental preparation for baptism and marriage as “the” coming back moments. How are we aware and responding to these transitional life stages?
  3. Practical things–like transportation, universal accessibility, times of Mass/programs, childcare, etc.– matter, a not-insignificant 20% of the time. How can we remove practical barriers to increased participation, not as an afterthought, but as an intentional part of our local strategies.
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Finding a Local Church to Call Home

From the Pew Research Center comes a new study ripe with implications for how we think about hospitality, evangelization, and growing disciples in our local churches.

Question #1: What to Americans look for in a new congregation? 

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Question #2: Why do Americans look for a new church home to begin with? 

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Let’s dig into each of these areas further to flesh out implications for how we share Jesus’ love with the world…

Becoming a Parish Ad Gentes

  1. For Americans with kids, 65% say that education/programs for children age greatly valued. How are your children/student programs? Do they run year round? Are they convenient? Are they high-quality enough that parents would choose to place their children there? Would they appeal to outsiders (not just those feeling an “obligation” to attend)? As the leaders of Church of the Nativity (Timonium, MD) often say “when you do something for my kids, you do something for me” is an important societal, parental value to respond to.
  2. When Americans go looking for a new church home, roughly half consider switching denominations (note: while this isn’t a term we use in Catholic theology, it’s common in vernacular conversation, so I use it in that sense here). This is a huge opportunity! Talk about opennessAs Catholic parishes we should ask ourselves, what kind of impression or perception would someone from a different faith background take away from setting foot on our campus or at our programs? 
  3. We may think that the unaffiliated don’t visit our parishes. But this would be a mistaken assumption. Almost “about three-in-ten current religious “nones” (29%) indicate they have searched for a new congregation at some point in their lives.” What’s for them at your parish? What would their experience be like? 
  4. How do typical Americans find a new church home? More than eight-in-ten adults who have ever looked for a new house of worship say they attended a service during their search (85%). And roughly seven-in-ten talked to members of the congregation (69%) or to friends or colleagues (68%) about the house of worship they were considering. What kind of recommendations or comments would your typical parishioners make about your parish? Would they be enthusiastic? Resigned? Unsure what to say? 
  5. Though it’s not the most important method for learning about potential local church homes, 59% of adults under 30 say they have incorporated online searches when looking for a new congregation. Your online presence matters. And, it should resonate with Millennials. 

Becoming a Parish for Catholic-Seekers

  1. What’s most important when choosing a new parish for Catholics? “nothing is more important than location. Fully three-quarters of Catholics who have looked for a new church (76%) say location was an important factor in their choice of parish.” Our first reaction might be to think (with relief or discouragement) there’s not much we can do then. But this misses something more significant–if Catholics are most likely to select a parish based on location, then it’s vitally important that every parish have a discipleship pathway, that every parish be intentional about ministering to people at every step of a disciple’s journey. We can’t be content to have some “powerhouse” parishes where intentional discipleship and fruits of the Holy Spirit are typical and then “maintenance” parishes for the rest. Taking this reality seriously might force us to think about collaborative organizational structures, networks or associations, and other ways to move more parishes from maintenance to mission. 
  2. Not convinced of the need for every parish to have pathways for intentional discipleship? Here’s another perspective: of affiliated Christians, Catholics are the least likely to ever look for a new congregation. Most Catholics will stay in the parish they’re at, unless the geography (location of household or parish) changes. What’s this mean? Our expectation must be that every parish be fully alive in the Holy Spirit, offering robust pathways for disciples to grow–otherwise, many Catholics will continue to exist in “maintenance” parishes.
  3. When Catholics are looking for a new parish, after location (76% rate as important), the next most important values are “feeling welcomed by leaders” (71%) and sermons (67%). This data supports the pitch made by Amazing ParishRebuilt, and Divine Renovation in recent years as to the importance of the “Sunday Experience.” Authentic welcome from leaders and good preaching aren’t accidents or “bonus” attributes of charismatic leaders–no, these are essential parts of ministry that must be planned, cultivated, and assessed for effectiveness.
  4. Though Catholics are less likely than other Christians to look for a new local congregation, when Catholics do go seeking, about one-in-three report exploring changing denominations or religions. This might come as a surprise to many of us–but it’s a reality we can’t ignore. The question becomes what’s going on in your parish, so that when parishioners do move or go looking for a new congregation, they seek out a Catholic one? 

Okay, so those are my takeaways from this study. What are yours? How might this data impact how you do ministry? 

Lifelong Learning & Technology: Implications for Faith Formation

The Pew Research Center recently published an interesting new study on how Americans utilize technology as a part of lifelong learning. While the study looked at all subjects of interest (i.e. from hobbies, to work, to new skills), we in ministry can apply many of the findings to our own design, planning, and conduct of lifelong faith formation opportunities for adults in our parishes.

Some key lessons for ministry:

The harvest is plenty! Almost 3/4 of adults consider themselves “lifelong learners.” Thus, if the adults in our midst care about their relationship with Jesus (this foundation has to come first–all too often we push learning before conversion), the vast majority will want to learn more.

Multiple [and virtual] locations matter. “By an 81% to 52% margin” adult learners are “more likely to cite a locale such as a high school, place of worship or library as the site at which personal learning takes place than they are to cite the internet.” Now, don’t use this as a reason to immediately discount online-learning–52% used the internet. That’s a lot.

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Benefits align with parish life. Check out the benefits adults report from lifelong learning (see chart to the right). From a discipleship perspective, I see human formation, community formation for volunteer ministry service, and more all happening here. And, the adult learners consider these benefits, not a burden we’re heaping on them. Consider–are adults participating in lifelong faith formation experiencing these broad benefits?

Margins exist. The study found that, “As a rule, those adults with more education, household incomes and internet-connecting technologies are more likely to be participants in today’s educational ecosystem and to use information technology to navigate the world.” And, the same often goes for faith formation in parish life (or through diocese or regional centers). While faith formation for a life of discipleship certainly has an “educational” component and should use sound pedagogy–an overemphasis on intellectual formation can be a huge turn-off, and even an insurmountable barrier, to those with lower literacy levels and negative associations with “classrooms” and “schools.” Jesus desires that all come to know Him and the eternal life offered to us (starting now) as disciples–we must ensure that adult faith formation can fit the needs of those in our communities, especially those on the educational-margins.

New methods of learning are not widely known. This part mostly applies to deacon and lay ministry formation (facilitated by dioceses or other regional/national agencies). Distance learning, MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses), and Digital Badges are largely unknowns. We don’t leverage them well or in the nuanced ways to enhance formation (rather than merely substitute for F2F (face-to-face) learning). Currently models of formation are based on centralized institutional models, rather than competency models tailored for adult students and ministries with diverse needs. We have a huge opportunity to improve here and ultimately provide better formation for ministry that’s more economical and valuable for the ministries that need it the most.

Your thoughts? Anything else in the study with significant implications for adult faith formation?

Benchmarking: Priests Lead the Way (Statistically) in Administrative Work

Catholic priests spend twice as much time per week “administering congregation’s work and attending meetings” (via What do clergy do all week? | Pulpit and Pew).

This survey is old (from the turn of the century, aka 2001), but I’m not sure conditions have changed so dramatically that this wouldn’t still be true today.

The key question: so what?

Administration is one of many spiritual gifts (charisms). Ordination–like baptism–causes ontological change, but doesn’t include the Holy Spirit pouring out or increasing the spiritual gift of ordination in every person ordained a deacon, priest, or bishop (but probably some, thankfully!).

If priests are spending a much higher proportion of time on administration versus their other individual spiritual needs, needs of parish, and/or their unique charisms, then this is problematic. etc. We should want to correct this because of “charism-mismatch” more than a localized “priest shortage.”

This is a benchmark. A comparison to other like, but not identical, organizations (Protestant congregations). Catholic congregations are much larger, on average, than non-Catholic ones. So–there is probably more administrative work. Interestingly, Catholic priests report statistically similar percentages of time spent on “denominational and community affairs.” So no, don’t blame the diocese right away for the difference ;-).

My take aways:

1. Rely on Church teaching (especially Canon Law), rather than custom (aka the way we’ve always seen it done around here…) to determine what tasks, roles, and responsibilities are most (in many cases, only!) suited for the ordained minister.

2. In other areas, discern spiritual gifts, natural talents, and developed competencies among ministers, staff, and volunteers to match the gifts with the parish’s needs.

3. It seems unlikely (but, I admit, not impossible) that a dramatically higher proportion of Catholic priests have the spiritual gift of administration compared to those called to ministry in non-Catholic contexts, thus making it good that we’re “using” this gift so much more often. Instead, anecdotally what many in the pews report is that it’s harder to get spiritual care or be known within a Catholic parish. You could be a member for ten years. Drift away. And never receive a call or even note from the pastor or other ministerial staff. While this is due to size, it’s probably also a zero-sum side effect of all that extra pastor-time spent on administration.

4. Part of administration in this survey included meeting attendance. Carefully consider, who needs to be at a meeting? Does there need to be a meeting? And, why is the pastor here? In many cases, it’s out of habit, a sense of obligation, or a culture where the task, plan, or decision to be made is only valid if a priest is present. Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran address the need to take this on in Tools for Rebuilding. This could be another good way for priests to gain back more time for their unique charisms and gifts of ordination.

5. Many Catholic parishes find themselves in a financial spiral (not enough disciples, thus not enough spiritual givers, thus not enough money to hire disciple-makers) that prevents hiring more staff. Think about volunteers! Can you use volunteers more creatively in line with their gifts and talents to take on administrative work? Most parishes readily ask for volunteer ministers when it comes to communion to the homebound, lectoring, music ministry, catechesis, greeting, and more–but what about around the office?

Bottom line: Catholic parishes will usually (on average) require more administrative work than non-Catholic ones due to larger size. But let’s not let it get out of hand to the spiritual detriment of the local flock. And, most importantly, let’s try to cooperate with our gifts of the Holy Spirit more often, rather than assign administrative responsibilities in a mechanistic fashion.

Glimpses of Calls to Ministry

As part of a continuing conversation (1, 2, 3, and 4) on younger generations and ministerial leadership, I’m sketching out some insights into Joyce Donahue‘s offer to younger generations of Catholics, “Let us learn from you how God is calling people into lay ministry today.”

One of the most important axioms I took away from reading Working Hard–And Working Well: A Practical Guide to Performance Management (David E.K. Hunter) is to aim to seek out data and stories when seeking understanding (p. 33-34). A wonderfully told story may be inspirational, but doesn’t necessarily help us know what’s typical. Likewise, all the quantitative data in the world isn’t enough to convey our “contextual,” “nuanced” human reality (aka we’re all too messy to be captured solely through data). [By the way, this book is available as a free download if you’re intrigued…]

With this in mind, I’ll be offering both–a few takes on the quantitative, as well as my own story* (which is, to use Joyce Donahue’s spot-on characterizations, “convoluted” and conversion-filled to say the least).

CARA functionally identifies lay ecclesial ministers (LEMs) as “professional and trained lay persons involved in paid parish ministry for at least 20 hours a week” (lay=not ordained; lay≠less professional/educated/certified/experienced). [Note: I personally have some linguistic concerns with the term LEM–but since most readers are in the U.S. and using USCCB language, we’ll stick with it for the sake of clarity. Plus, I’m in the military so I have an inherent desire to use as many acronyms as possible. J/k 😉 ]

Based on CARA’s most recent blog posts, the average age of a LEM in the U.S. is 55, and roughly 5 percent of LEMs are from the Millennial generation. The average age of an adult Catholic is 45. According to the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM)’s November 2010 Student Survey Report, 12 percent of those in graduate ministry programs were Millennials (defined as post-1983, slightly younger than other metrics which use a 1980 or 1982 start date).

Donahue asks us to consider, how does an early vocation work?” [Note: the average age parish ministers first hear a call to ministry is 29 (see footnote 8)]

Fundamentally, any call works through and with the Holy Spirit. We’re considering the human response side of things here, not trying to measure grace.

In 2012, CARA completed a study, Consideration of Priesthood and Religious Life Among Never-Married U.S. Catholics. Overall, 80 percent of male respondents and 74 percent of  female respondents were members of the Millennial generation.

The national study included this question:

A lay ecclesial minister is someone with professional training working or volunteering in a ministry at least part-time for a Catholic parish or other Church organization (for example, director of religious education, pastoral associate, youth minister, campus chaplain, or hospital chaplain). Have you ever considered serving in the Church as a lay ecclesial minister?

Here’s what CARA found among never-married men:

And among never-married women:

Overall, 7% of respondents—male and female combined—said they had ever considered becoming a LEM…A total of 0.9% of respondents indicated that they had considered becoming a LEM and now serve as such already.

This is lower than the 12 percent of male respondents who considered becoming a priest or brother and the 10 percent of female respondents say who considered becoming a religious sister.

Okay, so based on CARA’s regression analysis, what is statistically significant as a positive predictor of someone in a [mostly] Millennial never-married population considering becoming a LEM?

Faith is among the most important or the most important part of life (3.2 times more likely to consider than those not responding as such)

Participated in campus ministry on a college campus (3.1 times more likely to consider than those who did not)

Reads or prays with the Bible or Scripture at least once a week (2.9 times more likely to consider than those who do not)

Has volunteered in a service project in their local community to help people in need (2.6 times more likely to consider than those who did not)

Belongs to a group or organization that encourages devotion to Mary (2.4 times more likely to consider than those who do not)

Self-identifies as Hispanic or Latino/a (2.3 times more likely to consider than those self-identifying as Non-Hispanic white)

Being involved in their parish is “very important” to their sense of what it means to be Catholic (2.2 times more likely to consider than those not responding as such)

Attended Mass at least once a week during high school (2.1 times more likely to consider than those who did not)

Attends Mass at least once a week now (2.1 times more likely to consider than those who do not)

Has a household income of less than $40,000 per year (2.0 times more likely to consider than those with higher incomes)

Participates in multiple Church-related groups, programs, and activities (1.6 times more likely to consider than those who do not)

Despite some perceptions, “Gender is not a statistically significant predictor of considering a LEM vocation once one controls for everything else in the regression model. This means that the general observation that there are fewer male LEMs or fewer men interested in this vocation is attributable to gender disparities in the factors listed above—most likely the combined religiosity or importance of faith reflected in the statistically significant predictors.”

These are all fairly similar to the positive predictors for priestly and religious vocations, however there are some differences in emphasis:

The best education-related predictor of women’s considering a religious vocation was enrollment in Catholic primary school and the best similar predictor for men’s interest in becoming a priest or brother was enrollment in a Catholic secondary school.

But, the best education-related predictor for LEMs is participation in a campus ministry program (public or private), as “more than a third of those who participate in campus ministry programs consider a LEM vocation (35%).”

Okay, so insights relevant to Donahue’s conversation starters?

  • Considering a call to lay ministry (or any ministry) is relatively rare among younger generations (thus far in our lifetimes). The perception that lots more young Catholics today are considering ministry at an earlier age has yet to be proven. The current average age of first hearing a call is 29. For the 1961-1981 generation the average age of first hearing a call is 24, for Millennials, it’s 16 (but this will probably rise over time, as the oldest Millennials are only 33 years of age) [see p. 6, .pdf]. Thus, the shift to an earlier call might not be as dramatic as some perceive. Maybe that means it’s not so different from the calls experienced in other generations.
  • The positive predictors listed aren’t surprising. I would imagine they are similar to the predictors of a call to any ministry across all generations. Again, the perception of difference in calls among younger generations may be overestimated. 
  • The campus ministry connection means that role models are probably important, as campus ministries often have many more staff lay ministers than a parish (and ministers able to give one-on-one mentorship to students, and opportunities for students to take on volunteer roles they might not otherwise in a typical parish). Donahue asks, “Did you grow up admiring other catechetical leaders or theologians and want to emulate them? Or, did you, too, start out doing something else and then God ‘yanked’ you into this?” It seems that an “early” call to lay ministry involves witnessing LEMs in action in campus ministry settings and/or conversion in aspects of the Christian life in these ministry settings, more than K-12 experiences. There’s probably a “yank” effect to some degree during this campus experience, as many undergraduates consider multiple majors, careers, vocations, etc.
  • To the discussion prompt, “How is this, for your generation, a divine calling, and not simply a ‘career choice?'” — I gravitate toward the #1 predictive factor that “faith is among the most important or the most important part of life.” I think for those who name faith as the (or “among the”) most important part of their life, any work/vocation of any type would likely only be undertaken with a sense of divine calling and/or consolation in discernment. As divinely called to be a disciple-scientist as a disciple-LEM.

Okay, that’s enough to kick-off my reflection. So far, I’d say there aren’t significant differences that should cause anyone to pause with concern before recruiting a young adult to apply for or accept a specialty, parish, or diocese leadership position of any level.

Up next I’ll share my story, and then get back to a few more trends. In the meantime, your thoughts on Donahue’s discussion-stimulating reflection prompts?

Recruiting Younger Generations for Ministerial Leadership

Over at the Patheos Public Square discussion, Timothy O’Malley hits it out of the park, saying what’s needed to be said bluntly for some time about Millennials in the Church (and really, in my opinion, anyone under 40).

Last week, we considered ways to grow human capital in parish life–and those ideas would certainly apply to all generations. Today I want to hone in specifically on generations and leadership.

O’ Malley writes:

Rather than study millennials as some foreign entity in our midst, the Church would do well to employ their particular genius for our time.

“Foreign entity in our midst” is spot on. Every time (and it’s often) I hear others talk about how “we need to pay more attention to such-and-such generation because they are the future of the Church,” I cringe.

Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran dispel this well-meaning (but false) idea that we do youth ministry, young adult ministry, etc…for the future, explaining, “Students…are an important part of the Church right now. God very much desires a growing relationship with them and has granted them gifts and talents to serve him and his family” (Rebuilding Youth Ministry, vii).

The future is now. We’re right here. Holy Scripture and the saints show us that God doesn’t have a minimum age requirement when it comes to being an instrument of his Spirit.

While an increasing number of parishes and ministries acknowledge and live out the reality that people from all generations are in need of life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ that leads to discipleship, what about ministerial leadership?

Increasing Generational Diversity in Ministerial Leadership

As Jonathan Sullivan observed, “In some corners of the Church there is a consistent undertone directed towards young adults that we are there to learn or be learned about, rather than having anything meaningful to say on our own behalf.” And even in volunteer settings, as Chris Wesley explains, “If parish leaders think about young people at all, they usually consider ways to entertain them or to get their help with projects that other people have decided are good ideas” (Rebuilding Youth Ministry, 2).

In short, sometimes leadership is equated to age, rather than attributes.

O’Malley summarizes these sentiments from academia to parish life:

“the problem in today’s Church is a reticence to invite these very millennials into positions of leadership. National ministry organizations, as well as the USCCB, continue to bemoan the absence of millennials in the Church only to pass over the remarkable millennials already in the Church. Catholic universities seem at times unwilling to employ these post-ideological millennials as faculty members and staff, changing the tenure of the discussion relative to Catholic identity. Parishes often see these millennial Catholics as passive recipients for the reception of sacramental grace, rather than active disciples, who could be catalysts for parish life — preachers and teachers for the present generation.”

Addressing Mismatch From Two Perspectives

1. Young adult Catholics need to apply for leadership positionseven if they’ve never seen anyone who looks/talks/acts like them culturally or generationally in the job before.

Younger generations are not underrepresented in youth ministry. An unscientific (but still valuable) survey in 2013-14 from Catholic Student Ministry revealed an average age of 30 for Catholic youth ministers. 35 percent of these Youth Ministers have degrees in ministry (or related fields). I wonder, how many of these youth ministers felt that the position of “Youth Minister” was the best fit for their knowledge, experience, and vision. Might some of these lay ministers have talent in strategic planning and coaching/consulting and be better suited for a diocesan coordinator position? Might some be excellent administrators? Could a qualified 30-year old parish Director of Faith Formation oversee direct reporting staff (who might happen to be older)? Absolutely–this happens regularly in the corporate, military, and nonprofit sectors.

Has nearly every mega-parish DRE you’ve met been a woman in her 50s? Don’t worry about the stereotype,  Mr. “Late-20s with Managerial Experience,” you should apply.

Does the position description for a diocesan director of evangelization ask for 5-10 years of parish experience? And you only have four years of experience (and it’s not in a parish)–don’t let that stop you–apply!

There’s nothing wrong with Youth Ministry. Some are spiritually gifted and called to it. But other talented, faithful young ministerial leaders are youth ministers simply because it’s the status quo. The expectation. It’s where “people like them” usually work.

Now for the other side of the mismatch…

2. Dioceses and parishes need to build up their applicant pools.

Let’s look at an example where there is significant under-representation. The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life’s Catholic Social and Pastoral Research Initiative has an excellent study profiling diocesan offices of religious education.

Here’s what we know about the age of diocesan catechetical directors:

DioceseDirectors

Yikes. Not so good for those under age 40. And there’s really no reason for this–a quick skim of diocese-level job openings shows KSAPs (knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics) that realistically match the backgrounds of many Catholics in their mid-20s and beyond. [Note: I say mid-20s and beyond, because most diocese or senior-level parish job openings ask for anywhere from 5 to 10 years experience. Someone in their mid-20s active in volunteer ministry during college could be in the ballpark.]

The study also reported that 75 percent of directors have a masters degree and 20 percent a doctorate. Again, if a masters degree is the norm, this is very attainable by the mid/late 20s. On the whole, the qualification (KSAPs) in diocesan job descriptions are analagous to many managerial and leadership roles in corporations and nonprofits, and many of these other organizations do manage to fill them with highly qualified young adults in their mid-20s and 30s.

Dioceses and parishes can be proactive and recruit in order to enlarge applicant pools.

As nonprofit executive Rob Waldron comments:

“More than 80 percent of [our] hires were people we approached with a “warm” or sometimes “cold” call first, rather than people who directly applied. We are committed to spending the time to find the best—often through research or references. One trick has been to ask each new person we hire, “Who are the top five people you have ever worked with, in any capacity, during your professional life?” We keep this list and use it as our source for recruiting many candidates.”

Even if you’re just looking to fill one or two positions (not hundreds, like Waldron), go out and build the applicant pool. Having the right people matters more than having the right curriculum/website/etc.–so invest time recruiting. Use existing staff to generate leads. The best person for the job might not even be looking for one.

Waldron offers further advice: Hire people, not positions–“great people seem to fit in well anywhere.” Don’t be afraid to let a job opening sit for a while. It’s okay to hire someone who’s a little bit different than your posted description, but can make a great contribution to your ministry.

This dovetails with Monisha Kapila’s observations:

“Many nonprofit job descriptions include narrow requirements around education, work experience, or industry experience. This approach limits access to strong candidates who could bring diverse experiences.”

Does that sound like your DRE or Director position? Do a solid job analysis and identify the KSAPs for excellence–write these into your posting, not all the “other stuff” that mostly describes what past candidates have looked like.

Finally, go where qualified younger candidates might be found. Posting a job description isn’t enough–remember, that younger leader isn’t sure an organization like you might ever hire someone like them. Ask around at activities/events targeting young adults. Find masters degree programs to recruit from. You’re not trying to recruit someone to hire, necessarily–you’re recruiting to thicken your applicant pool, so you can then make the best selection. Giving a nudge to a 30-something young adult who is a mid-level manager in a local nonprofit and who has 10 years of involvement in small group ministry as a volunteer is letting him or her know that yes, you’re the kind of person who might interview well for a director position.

Owning the Challenge

Despite popular perceptions, the Catholic Church’s organizational structure is extremely decentralized. Canonically, every parish can stand alone in many aspects of administration/management. Every diocese can adopt different priorities. We have to take ownership of this challenge. Those who work in parishes, those who work in dioceses, young adults, those who know young adults, etc. It’s everyone’s problem when perception may be all that’s blocking us from moving toward more optimal ministerial hires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Cultivating Encounter with Jesus Christ in Parishes” in Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization & Summer Lull…

Things will be slower than usual this summer as I’ll have an increase in course load and am working on some larger writing projects…in the meantime, I’m happy to share that the latest issue of Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization is out, and I have a longer article entitled, “Cultivating Encounter with Jesus Christ in Parishes” (starts on pg. 72) that I hope leads to fruitful reflection and practical ideas.