A few weeks ago I began a personal challenge called Last 90 Days. I joined a community with about 500,000 other people over at The Hollis Co to end the year with the same intention that we usually start the year with. The basics of the challenge is to complete the 5 to Thrive each day: 1) Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water, 2) Wake-Up 1 hour early each morning, 3) Move your body for 30 minutes, 4) Practice Gratitude every morning, and 5) Give up one category of food for 30 days.
Now that I’m a few weeks into the challenge and very well hydrated, I’ve been thinking about how we can apply this to parish life. Let’s end the year with intention. Let’s apply these same personal development principals to parish life.
1. PRAYER: Set aside time to pray as a staff, ministry team, or yourself each day. Schedule 15 minutes of prayer time (at a minimum) plus Daily Mass or a Daily Rosary. If we aren’t connected to our ‘hydrating source’ then we won’t get anywhere. A woman I worked with at a parish years ago had a sign in her office that said “Don’t get so busy doing the Lord’s work that you forget about the Lord.”
2. SHARE: Be intentional about sharing the Gospel with at least one person every day. Ask them how you can pray for them today and then actually pray for them. We run into a lot of people each day, strangers and friends, who are all in need of something.
3. TRY SOMETHING NEW: Explore something new each day. Could be something small, or something big – but do something new that you haven’t done before. Look at a current ministry and see what you could do to change to grow!
4. POST A PICTURE: Take a photo of an event or a place in the parish and post it on social media. Share a scripture verse, an inspiring quote, or a thought-provoking question.
5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE: We can get so caught up in what’s going wrong, how terrible we’re doing, or how awful things are in the Church. Instead of getting stuck in the negative, take a moment to be grateful for both big and small things at the parish. Practice this with your whole team.
Each of these things is simple to do in and of themselves, but to be consistent is to build a new habit, a new way of being. Our lives are made up of our habits. Think about where you sit for Mass every week – it’s probably the same exact pew. Our lives change when our habits change … our churches change when our habits change!