Have you ever felt as though you were just keeping your head above water? How receptive were you during that time to advice on changing your direction or perspective? Chances are, if you’re like many people, you felt like someone has asked you to stop swimming. In fact, what that person has recognized is that you’re not keeping your head above water; you’re just drowning very slowly.
When we are exposed to a concept like what Divine Renovation proposes, we think it’s too much work. It’s true that leading a church from maintenance to mission is a lot of work. However, what we propose is not that we somehow add more hours to the day or ever that we spend more of the hours that we have working. Instead, the proposition is that we need to do something differently. In some cases this means engaging parishioners that come to church out of duty or obligation and in other cases this means improving the experience of the priest himself.
This week on the podcast we spoke with Hannah Vaughan-Spruce who works for us in the UK, helping parishes in that region, and is also one of the key individuals putting together DR19UK, our conference in England on February 7-8, 2019. She was able to share a lot with us about what the movement has meant to parishes in the region but she spoke in particular of one priest.
Like many priests, he felt alone. He felt as though the weight of the world were on his shoulders and when it came to his parish, this is probably not far off from the truth. Rather than suggest that he needed to swim harder, a task that seems impossible to someone who feels like their legs are about to give out, we turned it into a relay.
Since establishing a senior leadership team in his parish, he’s come to understand that he’s not alone.
People often feel that when we talk about church renewal, we’re talking about someone making the church better. We’re not. We’re asking the faithful to work together to show the uninterested and the disinterested and the unchurched what a church community should look like. It shouldn’t look like one person trying to pull everyone along behind them. When we do it right, everyone is moving in the same direction under the vision and care of the priest.
No one needs to feel alone.