Ministry Tip of the Week
If I can steal wisdom from our Protestant brothers and sisters for a moment... a "purpose-driven" ministry is a fruitful endeavor. I was reading "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields and I'd like to share with you a part of his very helpful vision for planning events in the context of Christian discipleship.
Everything serves a purpose, a specific purpose (or at least it should). An event or program may in fact serve multiple purposes, but what are they? The better we understand our goals, the better chance we have of reaching them. The "purpose-drive" vision highlights five essential goals for the Church's mission:
1. Evangelization: An intimate and living relationship with Jesus is the source and summit of all we do as Christians. The facilitation and cultivation of this relationship is our highest priority. This is achieved through various means, but sometimes basic evangelization (that is, explicit proclamation of the Gospel) is the specific goal for why we do something.
2. Catechesis: The more we come to know Jesus, the more we want to know him. If the relationship is truly alive, it's that of a lover and his beloved. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a longing that literally consumes us, a desire to know the Word more intimately each day and to align our lives to the truth of Christ and his call to discipleship. It's important we provide (for ourselves and for others) opportunities to foster and feed this growing intellectual hunger.
3. Fellowship: Human beings long to love and to be loved. It's our nature. Friendships fulfill this basic human need. Without opportunities to grow in communal bonds of friendship, we can quickly fall into a "me and Jesus" mentality; and that's not enough. Evangelization and Catechesis are meant to draw us closer together, but finding time to cultivate friendships isn't always easy in our busy culture. That's why it helps to be intentional about setting aside time to foster friendship and to bear the fruit of the communion we share in Christ.
5. Service: To receive God's love is to be sent. The mission of Jesus is alive in his disciples. We take Jesus at his word when he says "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me." As a parish community, as Church, we bear far more fruit than we ever could on our own as individuals. Everyone has specific gifts, and together they carry out the mission. We must always be looking for ways to serve the poor among us, to build up our brothers and sisters, and to grow our community.
I find it helpful to see these five goals laid out. They seem obvious enough, but are we achieving them? Could we be more effective in any of these areas? Live with purpose. Be intentional.