Hello Again Everyone,
Today we are going to pick up where we left off, phase one of transitioning your parish to using Family Formation. After prayer, the best think you can do is talk, talk, talk! Speak to everyone and anyone who will listen about how and why you want to move in this direction. If you yourself are totally sold on the idea, it will be easier for others to buy into it. Ask to give a report at every committee meeting that meets at your parish regardless of its previous involvement in your education programs. The people involved in those different areas of ministry are leaders, whether they realize it or not, and this is one of the best ways to get the word out! Again, if you are convinced that this is the way to solve the current crisis in religious education, your excitement will be contagious!
All of this talking must be approached with care though. You need to start to have some potentially difficult, honest, but important conversations with people. You need to start evaluating the current way you are doing things. Are you getting the results you want? What happens if you keep doing what you are currently doing? What will change? What do you want to have change? What do you risk happening if you change? Are you afraid of low mass attendance? How high is it now? What is the difference between people in the pews who are not engaged versus people in the pews that are engaged and their faith is alive? Are you afraid of loosing families? Do you lose them now from first communion to confirmation? What about after confirmation? Is there anything wrong with setting the bar high? Are parents reinforcing what your children learn at church or not? Are parents being effectively evangelized at your Church? Are they bearing spiritual fruit? How will you get people on board who love or created the old program that you want to change? How will you pay for this new program? Are you going to pass on the cost to the families? Should families pay for religious education? Why or why not? What does it say if families buy their kids cell phones, iPods, pay for sports but do not pay for their religious education? (Click the link for some more Discussion Questions )
Again all of these are difficult questions and they should be answered. At some point they will come up. If you want to have an honest evaluation of your parish, its current situation, and what the future may hold, these things need to be discussed. May God give you wisdom on how to bring the discussion to the parish, how to guide the discussion forward, and how to face the critics of change.
Yours in Christ,