Continuing our six-part series, we have been sharing some details of the work our parish leadership team has been doing so that we may bring clarity of the purpose and mission of our church to everyone engaged in Holy Family Parish. This work revolved around six key clarity questions: Why do we exist? – How do we behave? – What do we do? – How will we succeed? – What is most important right now? – Who does what? This week we look at:
QUESTION 3 – WHAT DO WE DO?
This question may be the simplest of all six clarity questions we have been explaining. The answer lies at the opposite end of the idealism continuum from “why do we exist?”, and should be no more than a description of what we actually do. No flowery adjectives or adverbs here – just a ‘matter of fact’ one-sentence definition.
You may wonder if it’s even worth spending time on this question – when the answer should be so simple and clear. But clarity isn’t always a given. So, as a parish of faithful believers, what are the concrete, observable “things” that we do?
We would say: We offer sacraments, discipleship, praise, outreach, catechesis, fellowship, prayer, stewardship, faith formation, small groups, and hospitality.
As obvious as these all seem, we shouldn’t assume that everyone knows all of these things, and has clarity about all of them, all of the time. Rather, by regularly reminding ourselves of the many functions of what being a “church” means to us, and reinforcing clarity in what we do, we can foster collective ownership of our mission, and the many essential pieces of it. This way, we ensure that our priorities, values, goals and strategies are supported by, and shared by all. This also reminds us that being an engaged member of Holy Family Parish goes beyond attendance at Mass on Sundays, and that this engagement brings each of us a fullness of relationship with Christ.
St Paul said in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”…“And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”… “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Cor. 12:12, 16, 21)
This doesn’t mean that everyone will do everything, but if we all know “what we do” collectively, it will encourage us to work not in our individual silos, but to work more collaboratively and coherently, as a true community of faith – as the many parts of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider these essential aspects of what we DO as a church and how they all can contribute not only to our personal experience of faith, but also to our practices as a caring community of faith.