Last week on the podcast we were joined by Josh Danis, the National Director of Alpha Catholic Context for Alpha USA. It was a great conversation about the stories of change that come out of the Alpha Experience and one of the questions we asked Josh was around whether it was easier or more difficult to bring people the the Church right now, given scandals and the general state of the world. We talked about how Alpha was impacting parish renewal throughout the world. It was an incredible conversation and if you haven’t yet, it’s available to listen or to watch.
We wanted to speak a little further into something that came out of this conversation and something that we’ve heard through several conversations we’ve had with other leaders;
What are we waiting for?
One of the most common obstacles we face in our conversations around parish renewal is a lack of vision when it comes to what the future COULD look like. We decide not to focus on children’s ministries because we don’t have that many children in the parish. We avoid social media because we don’t have a lot of parishioners on Facebook anyways, so why bother?
In the case of Alpha, we often have people who suggest that it’s not the time to look at evangelization programs because we’re just too busy with the needs of our parishioners. We’re too busy dealing with their struggles through difficult times in the world. “We can’t be missionary disciples because it’s just too difficult of a time.”
What better time?
Jesus Christ does not call people to “follow him when and if it’s convenient.” He does not ask that we wait until we’ve got it all figured out. People need Jesus and they need him now. Not only do parishes need to reach out at this time to those that are lost and those that are in pain, we can use each and every one of these things as a way to connect with those that are in the pew. When we model missionary discipleship, we support those within our church that seek to reach out. We have found that the three keys to parish renewal are the primacy of evangelization, the best of leadership principles, and the empowerment by the Holy Spirit. You’ll note that “finding a good time” isn’t on that list.
We live in a difficult time where people are unsure of where to go for answers. If we don’t reach out and help them find those answers, they’ll look elsewhere. We can bring people to Jesus Christ. We can do it now.
What are we waiting for?