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Ten Reasons I Know We’re Growing a Healthy, Mature Congregation (Part 1)

June 23, 2010

I was thinking today about how healthy and mature our congregation is becoming. I know, I know, that sounds self-congratulatory and prideful.  But I think on Father’s Day its OK to be a little proud of the family.

No kidding, this is the most mature and healthy Church community I have ever been part of in my life, and there is no close second in my experience. 

Off the top of my head let me share with you the top ten reasons I am sure that this is true. Here are the first five.

#1 Respect for the Eucharist
During the consecration of the Mass you can hear a pin drop in our Church.

#2 Attention to the Message
This summer, like last summer, we are presenting the message after Mass.  We do that so that Chris and Tom can speak. That gives me a break and it gives them more speaking experience.  Most importantly, it allows us to continue to offer a consistent and challenging weekend message through the summer.  This weekend, after Communion easily 90% of the people just settled down and listened to my 20 minute presentation.  Imagine that happening in another church.  

#2 Singing
Catholics don’t sing.  (Read the excellent book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing.”)
But people in our Church sing, partly I think because we have great music, partly because we make it easy for them to do it, and partly because, like the message, they’re attentive and involved.  

#3 Good Manners/Friendliness
My father always says the most dangerous place in the world is the parking lot of a Catholic Church after Mass.  A lot of people in a lot of Churches are really grumpy (maybe because they don’t even want to be there in the first place).  By and large the people in our Church are friendly and smiling and fun to be around (maybe because they actually want to be here). When I do run across a grumpy person, they’re usually a visitor.

#4 Willingness to try new things
Two weeks ago, when we announced we’re going to Haiti, dozens of people approached both me and Brian Crook (our new Missions Director) about supporting and assisting this project.  That is so typical of this parish.  This past year we completely changed a revered program, our Christmas Giving Program, from being all about toys for kids to being about water for kids. In some churches I have been a part of, there would have been an uproar.  Not here. Everybody got on board and showed amazing support.  That is a sign of health because it is a sign of confidence and trust in the leadership by the congregation.

#5 Stewardship
Catholics don’t give, they’re use to getting Church for free and free works for them.  Catholics have also never been introduced to what the Bible has to say about giving and they have been and continue to be confused by the Church’s ceaseless and annoying pleas for nickels and dimes.  Our parish has a long way to go in terms of stewardship, but I think we are headed in the right direction and making progress.  We only talk about giving to our parish church once a year, BUT we talk about money and giving all the time.  And people are getting the message. More and more people are becoming great givers.

More on the next post….

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