Our team discussed how to respond to the issue, “No one’s volunteering, what do I do next?” As I thought about my reply to that question and issue (not a unique one) I came up with the following idea: Six Week’s on the Eucharist (or fill in the topic of your choice).
Why do I think something like this (the Eucharist, Mary, Scripture, Saints, etc.) will help with this issue? Because I think the issue of people engaging in the parish is deeper than “we need more volunteers” … I believe it’s a heart issue. I think we need spiritual renewal in our parishes (I know I need it in my own heart).
What might this look like?
- At least one parish Holy Hour a week for six weeks. Invite parishioners to either take one hour during the effort, one a week, ten minutes a week for six weeks, or whatever might allow for their schedule. Schedule this hour (or multiple hours) at a variety of times. A sample schedule might be: Saturday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday morning, Thursday evening – an hour each time with simple exposition, quiet in the church, with a few people scheduled to be present. Be sure to have one of these hours scheduled whenever your religious education classes happen so parents can drop in and the classrooms can go each week for a 5 to 15 minute visit (depending on the age group).
- Six weeks of preaching on this topic. The Scriptures and our Church Teaching are so rich, we could find a way to incorporate a single topic into the homilies for the next six weeks. This would allow you to have a topic addressed in a deeper way than one option.
- A few adult education sessions on the topic or a guest speaker to go a little deeper for those who are interested. These can be previewed in the bulletin, live streamed on Facebook (or wherever you stream Masses), posted on the website, and used for social media posts (take a few key quotes and share with a few photos of beautiful things around the parish).
Go all in on your topic of choice. Maybe spend the whole Fall semester at the parish on this theme for everyone from religious education, the school, adult formation, ministries, service opportunities, Liturgy, and other spiritual growth experiences.
If you’re wondering if something like this is for you and your parish or not, take time to pray about it. How? Commit to a daily Holy Hour as a staff? Don’t have time for a daily Holy Hour? As one saint is known to say, “Do two.”
At the first parish I worked at the pastor’s secretary had a sign that said: “Don’t get too busy doing the Lord’s work that you forget about the Lord.”
If you need to discern where the Lord is calling you to be, spend time with Him. Commit to a daily (or weekly) Holy Hour with the Church open. Invite parishioners to join you if they’d like. Let them see how their pastor discerns!
You aren’t too busy to ask the Lord how He wants you to serve His people.