What if you could make sacramental preparation a little less painful? It’s one of those areas in Catholic (and other denominations) ministry where everyone feels like they have to do it; therefore, they look to get through it as quickly as possible. But, you and I know it’s something more and should be treated differently.
In the end, you’ve got church staff frustrated with parents, parents frustrated with their teens and teens resenting everyone for making them go through something they don’t quite understand. Something needs to change and it starts with:
ADJUSTING THE PERCEPTION
If you want people engaged and excited about the process then you need to change the perception. Right now a lot of people feel like they are REQUIRED or OBLIGATED to receive the sacraments when really it’s an invitation. To adjust the perception you need to:
- Look at your own attitude.
- Make sure you understand it’s significance in your personal faith.
- Give them a picture of the life change that comes from accepting the invitation to go deeper.
Before people start signing up make sure they are thinking about their decision to participate. Remind them it’s not something they HAVE TO DO, but GET TO DO. Paint for them a vision of what happens if they CHOOSE to go deeper through this process.
CREATING AN ENTHUSIASTIC CORE
You cannot be the only person carrying this burden. You need a team of that is enthusiastic about the vision and committed to trying something new.
They will help you troubleshoot any issues that come up. Your team will help you recruit the volunteers you need to run the preparation. Your core is going to give you more capacity and energy to change the culture that comes with a very traditional system in ministry.
Find this team by asking for referrals from your coworkers and trusted volunteers. Take them out for a bite to eat and get to know them well. The more trust you build the better you will be at tackling the task at hand.
KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT IN THE END
The reason sacramental preparation becomes tedious is because we lose sight of its purpose. Spend time with your core team asking the following questions to create the ideal outcome:
- What are the characteristics and habits of a disciple?
- What areas of their faith will help them continuously grow?
- What are they doing differently after preparation versus before?
Your answers will help you create a path that leads to the results you desire.
Sacramental prep doesn’t have to be a struggle. It can be a moment where the next generation goes deeper than any other area of your ministry. You just need to paint a bigger picture and get the right team on board. In the end, you will impact the next generation and the local church.
How do you approach sacramental preparation differently in your church?