I’m writing today to thank the St. John’s Parish ‘Ministries’ and especially the ‘Small Groups’ that exist in our parish. As Pastoral Council President, I’m blessed to see firsthand all the great outreach opportunities we offer to our parishioners and public. Our St. John’s Leadership team is one of the most hardworking groups of individuals I have ever met. I hope you take advantage of the multitude of opportunities: RCIA, FOCUS, Alpha, Stephen Ministry, Knights of Columbus, Youth Ministry, etc. to grow in your personal relationship with the Lord.
If you can’t find time to participate, maybe you’ve been diagnosed with the ‘too busy’ epidemic going on in the world today. It’s a fact of life for some of us. We learn to live with the illness because of the excuse that God made us that way. Let’s go with that. You state in your conscience that you want to be more Christian, be more loving, be more involved in the community, be more involved in ministries; however, the illness overcomes you. Are you really trying to fool God! You have more God time than you realize. He knows your illness better than you do.
Thank God, he already gave us the cure. The first cure is mastering ‘Time Management’ to control this debilitating disease that limits us from growing with our Lord. Free up your schedule with meaningful spiritual opportunities. The second cure is St. John’s Parish and the ‘Small Group’ concept to alleviate the ‘too busy’ disease. It’s so simple! I’m proud to say that I’m a survivor of the disease.
If you have been doing your homework from the recent assembly by reading the The Four
Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, you are familiar with the staggering statistic where Matthew
Kelly states 7% of Catholic parishioners are doing almost everything in their faith community. I would state that Jill and I used to be on the 93% side. We were formerly ‘once a week’ Catholics. I’m proud to say we are rehabilitated. By participating in our ‘Small Group’ of eight people with the same disease, we just improved Mr. Kelly’s statistics by 800% within our individual control. (Just go with the math!)
I suspect the ‘too busy’ people still find time to visit with friends, watch a movie or two during the week, go out to dinner, play cards, etc., all within the context of a normal week. By inserting the ‘Small Group’ in our schedule, I call it ‘Curing the Disease’. Our group is made up of very busy people who all work full time jobs: business owners, teachers, laborers, who changed their schedule. We all merely carved our 90 minutes a week to gather in our ‘Small Group’. What does that mean? Anything we want it to mean! It’s free will. Last year’s method followed Todd Gale’s small group training and
the book With Jesus to the Cross. What? We need to be trained to lead a small group? Not
necessarily. I think it’s helpful, but let’s not over complicate the concept. When we ask God to lead us, He will, for He has promised (Psalm 32:8).
However, Todd is there to help, and he is a great resource for advice and endorsement. It was very helpful for affirmation of how to gather a group of friends and/or strangers (soon to be friends) and remind you of simple meeting structure disciplines. Start on time. End on time. Everything in between is completely up to you. You just fill the in between with a Christ-centered discussion.
Obviously, Todd taught us more than that. By tying it back to The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, he really focused on PRAYER, STUDY, GENEROSITY, and EVANGELIZATION. By the way, everything our parish has to offer helps us grow in these dynamics. Don’t forget about the other ministries.
Ok, let’s go back to ‘Small Groups’. We meet weekly by choice. Here are the outcomes of
those 90 minutes that makes us dynamic Catholics.
PRAYER: We at least start with and end with prayer.
STUDY: We discuss something religious, whether it’s following a guide book, talking about the weekly readings, listening to a CD, etc. Whatever you want to do!
GENEROSITY: Per the Signs book, Dynamic Catholics are filled with a spirit of service and are generous stewards of their time, talent, and treasure. They see generosity as the heart of Christianity and the proof that the teachings of Christ have taken root in their lives. This ties back to Study.
EVANGELIZATION: Ugh. That term again. Well, by golly, we are now evangelizing. We invite others into our home, and vise versa, to grow spiritually by sharing the love of God. Dynamic Catholics are much more likely to encourage a perspective that includes God and Church in their everyday life. Whoo Hoo. ‘Curing the Disease’. Healthy churches have over 50% of their adults in ‘Small Groups’. Let’s be healthy! We are evangelizing. We are sharing the faith. I encourage you to consider a ‘Small
It’s very gratifying, and I hope sometime soon, Matthew Kelly might point out that the 93% of our Church that are not Dynamic Catholics have improved in their love for the Lord. Too many figs have fallen off the tree. It won’t take much to improve; however, it starts with you (the branches), and our purposeful actions to follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus (the Vine). “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them”. We were made for relationships. People come to believe in Jesus and his Church when they encounter him through real friendships. ‘Small Groups’ are just another simple opportunity. It’s completely in your control to do it when you want and how you want. I hope this reaches you as something to consider as we enter our Advent season. If you are feeling that poke from the Holy Spirit to be a Dynamic Catholic, consider a ‘Small Group’ to help ‘Cure the Disease’.
Please feel free to call if you have any questions. 517-937-9311.