Parish Ministry Leadership

The Precepts of the Church

As Parish Ministry Leaders, we should be examples of prayer, ministry participation, and generous giving to our parish family. Each of us should be adhering to the Precepts of the Church and holding our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to these minimum requirements.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (ccc 2041 – 2043), “The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life.” They are “the very minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor.”

  • “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”
  • “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”
  • “You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.”
  • “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.”
  • “You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.”

Most parishes have many different ministries and organizations. Regardless of which ministry you lead, the primary role for all is the same – bring people to God!

Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Generally speaking, 30% of parishioners attend Mass regularly, 20% occasionally and 50%never.
  • However, the 50 – 70% that attend Mass sometimes or never may be active in a parish ministry.
  • Those 50 – 70% are not hearing the stewardship message at Mass and in the homilies.
  • Encourage parish ministry leaders to incorporate stewardship education into their monthly ministry meetings.
  • Avoid the general “cattle call” when looking for new volunteers. Personal invitation is the best method.

Do you live your life for the glory of God’s name or do you do it for the glory of your name?

One of the major reasons why people don’t participate in parish ministry is because of the attitude of certain parish ministry leaders.

Parish Ministry Leadership

  • Sometimes, if a person is a ministry lead for too long of a time, unknowingly, over time, the ministry starts to become the agenda of the person leading the ministry and not the agenda of   the parish.
  • People bring new ideas to the leader but they are rejected:
  • “That’s not how we do things around here.”
  • “We did that ten years ago and it didn’t work.”
  • Or, do you know parish ministry leaders like this…
  • You lead the Parish Athletic Association and think your main goal is to teach the kids sportsmanship, how to play the game and to win championships.
  • You lead the Parish Fish Fry and you think your main goal is to sell as many plates of fish as you can to raise as much money as you can.
  • Well, unfortunately, if you think this way, you’ve missed the point of ministry.

Change the Perception of Parish Ministry Leadership

  • The main goal of all parish ministry is to bring people to God, whether it’s through athletics or selling fish.
  • We need to change the perspective of what parish ministry leadership is about!
  • We need to focus on bringing people back to God.

Change the Culture of Parish Ministry Meetings

  • How are your monthly parish ministry meetings run?
  • Do you start your meeting by praying the “ten second” Our Father that you speed through?
  • Are you rushing through the agenda because you’re worried about the “busyness” of whatever the ministry does and you have to cover everything in one hour?
  • We need to remember that part of the people we are bringing to God are the people at the ministry meeting!
  • We need to spiritually feed the people that are part of the ministry as well.

Suggestions on Changing the Culture

  • Make faith formation a priority. At the start of each meeting:
    • Try a different prayer or a different style of prayer like Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), the Rosary or Scripture Readings.
    • Try doing faith-sharing opportunities to give people examples of how to do it.
    • For example, say “Since our last meeting, has anyone had a faith-sharing experience they would like to share?”
    • When we invite the Holy Spirit to be part of our meeting, He will make sure everything that needs to get done gets done.
  • Invite the members of the ministry to attend Sunday Mass.
    • This is one of the most important things we can do.
    • For example, say something like, “My wife and I go to 9 o’clock Mass every week. Please join us and we’ll grab some breakfast afterwards.”
    • Make sure we are giving a personal invitation to go to Mass.

Parish Ministry Leadership Summary

  • We need to be examples of faithful prayer – if we pray, others will pray.
  • We need to be examples of joyful ministry – joy attracts others.
  • We need to be examples of generous giving – for our parish and other Church and charitable needs.
  • Don’t assume people do not want to participate, many times they are waiting to be asked! Personal invitation is the best way.
  • Prayer is the key to being good stewards of our gifts - talking and listening to how God wants us to use our gifts.
  • We have to reverse the thinking that we go to Mass in order to see what God can do for us. It’s the other way around, we go to Mass to see what we can do for God!