I have been a priest in parish leadership for 12 years and a full-time evangelist for one year. The parish which I led between 2013 and 2018 moved from debt to financial self-sustainability, innovated in ministry to toddlers and teenagers, and established a team of parishioners able to run Discovering Christ and similar courses without the direct involvement of a parish priest.
My current role as a travelling evangelist means I have some freedom to work with parishes across the UK, and within limits, further afield. I would expect travel expenses and appropriate remuneration for this ministry.
I am happy to speak with a parish priest or a small group of parish leaders. What is the history of this parish? Who lives in the town but is not active in the parish? Who has left the parish, and why? How many members of the parish are using their gifts to do God’s work? Does the parish have a strategy for what it should do next, and why?
I can also lead workshops, open to the whole parish or for a selected group of leaders. The following workshops are available, but do ask (email@example.com) if you have something more specific in mind:
A: Sharing our Faith
Many Catholics don’t feel comfortable speaking about what they believe or how they pray. Other Catholics worry that we are doing something ‘aggressive’ when we invite someone else to become Catholic. But it is possible to speak about what we believe and how we pray in a way which doesn’t offend others. Slowly, we can attract them to the Catholic Church.
B: How People Become Catholic
The good news is that people do become Catholics. And they become very active Catholics! American author Sherry Weddell studied the reasons why a number of active Catholics had become Catholics. She saw that every new Catholic passes through five steps. If we know which step a person needs to take next, we can guide them in the right direction.
C: Reaching Catholics who no longer attend Mass
Why do Catholics no longer attend Mass? Often the reasons are very small. A person at Mass said something rude. A priest didn’t do something helpful. A parent feels bad because their child is making a noise. A news report showed that a bishop had done something wrong. How do we offer Catholics who have left Mass a safe place to speak about the reasons why they left? Do we need to change things on our parish to make them feel OK if they come back?
D: Attracting people who have no Christian experience
The Catholic Church can seem very strange to people who have never been part of it. We use prayers with long words. We have services with a lot of standing, sitting and kneeling. We speak about ideas like Salvation and things like the Blessed Sacrament. If we want to encourage new people to become part of our Church, how do we build a bridge that seekers can cross?
E: Building an Engaged Parish
Jesus expected his followers to ‘bear fruit’ and use their talents. A parish works well when it sees and uses the gifts in all its members. How can we help each member of a parish find and use their gifts? How can we build a culture which says this is expected?
F: Why Parishes Do Well
Some parishes work very well. There are parishes which have grown the number of people attending Mass. There are parishes which have helped their current members become much more active. Why do parishes do well? There are five things which are found in every parish which does well. We can learn from this and do them in our own parish!
Which Workshop(s) should I choose?
Workshops A, B and F are more general – C, D and E tackle specific groups a parish might want to work with. You might follow this advice on discerning where to start – or you might want an on-site or videoconference consultation first to help you decide.