Are you feeling burned out?Frequently parish leaders feel discouraged by what they see as the lack of involvement of parishioners in parish activities. “I can’t seem to get anyone to help out!” is a very common complaint.
Yet, the prospect of inviting other people to volunteer their time to a parish ministry can feel daunting. Afraid of being turned down, leaders fall back on either going it alone or tapping into the same people time after time, in other words, “the usual suspects.”
When working with parishes, RENEW International has always advocated a Spirit-led, yet practical, approach to inviting people to take part in ministries. The “4 Easy Steps” provides a structure and process that gives people confidence in their ability to make the ask. It also reflects our faith that the Holy Spirit is working through us. Just as God has invited us to spread the Gospel, and we have responded, we in turn invite others to get involved. It starts by gathering a few people into an invitation group to begin.
What are the “4 Easy Steps” in the invitation process?
- Personal reflection: Each person prepares on his or her own for the meeting of the invitation group. Prior to the meeting, each member of the group reviews a list of the roles and responsibilities for the candidates who are to be invited to serve.
- Communal prayer and reflection Everyone arrives at the discernment meeting with a list of names and qualities of potential candidates. The team prays for the candidates and for themselves to be open to the Holy Spirit.
- Discernment: After prayerful reflection together, the team draws up the final list of candidates to be invited and decides who will make the invitation.
- Invitation: Participants in the process commit to reaching out to potential volunteers and then invite them to an informational meeting to learn more. The group then follows up with volunteers on a regular basis.
The “4 Easy Steps” in Action
David Spesia, the Director of Evangelization and Catechesis in the Diocese of Joliet, was pleasantly surprised with the results of this invitational outreach in his own parish.
“After our parish leadership team walked through the “4 Easy Steps” process, I realized that I had some homework to do. As I prayed about who I might invite to serve as leaders for the next phase of the project, the Holy Spirit definitely lifted up several people whom I might not have considered.
Our team then discussed and prayed about the names we each discerned, which brought even more clarity about the candidates. But confirmation that the Holy Spirit was guiding the process came when I reached out to invite the candidates to an informational meeting, and two of them responded by saying, “I have been wanting to get more involved, but didn’t know where to begin!”
Overall, we found the entire process to be very fruitful—from the surprising array of names we surfaced to the remarkable number of people who responded to our invitation. The “4 Easy Steps” process is easy because we do not walk the path alone.”
This process is the subject of a more detailed training on parish leadership topics as part of Be My Witness, but you can use this description to try the key stages in your parish.
For a complete overview of all of the elements of Be My Witness, read and view the video.