Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found faithful to their gifts. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)
St. Francis is an active and vibrant parish where people encounter God in one another. There are over 100 different ministries with approximately 3,000 volunteer opportunities. Our ministries provide us the opportunity to use the gifts of God’s grace we have received through our Baptism for the sake of God’s kingdom—the ultimate mission of our Catholic church.
Currently, of all available volunteer positions, we only have a ~ 10% participation rate across registered parishioners over the age of 21. Our low ministry participation rate is hindering the ability of our ministries to fully function as needed. This impacts everything from our ability to consistently provide Eucharist to the sick and homebound to having enough ushers at Mass as two examples.
Building upon this, the strategic initiative process brought to light a desire by many parishioners to be more involved in ministry. Many are searching for ways to better understand how and where they could contribute more of their time and talent. Another key insight was that as our parish grows in size, many parishioners are concerned about feeling lost. Ministry involvement was noted as a key way to increase a sense of belonging and small community within the larger parish community.
Another key factor driving this initiative is that it is not just our call to service to one another that must be heard, but also our spiritual obligation to answer the financial needs of our parish and ministries. Over the past 9 years, our average weekly offertory per family has stayed flat and even declined in the last year. We must explore ways to address this situation and inspire individuals to be responsible stewards of not just their talents, but also of their worldly goods as they are their gifts from God.
This strategic initiative is in response to the issue as outlined above and our challenge to continually reinforce and create opportunities for people to respond to their baptismal call to serve and share our gifts.
Much progress has been made for this initiative. However, based on all of the feedback the Pastoral Council feels that this initiative needs to continue to be supported and expanded.
Progress to date includes:
Held two sessions of “Called and Gifted” workshops for parishioner spiritual gift discernment
Put in place the stewardship hospitality committee to focus on Welcoming new members and community wide awareness of Stewardship
Increased the number of social events to engage parishioners into the life of our faith community
Identified a process for “shared ministry”- matching people to ministry opportunities
Enhanced overall transparency of parish operations and finances with accountability Sunday and Partners in Ministry Forum
Areas that we will continue to focus on:
Implement a targeted invitation strategy to personally welcome and engage all newly registered parishioners
Introduce a new stewardship covenant process; initially to our newest members
Expand participation in the spiritual gift discernment program
Make parishioners aware of the opportunities to experience a sense of small community through ministry involvement
Connect spirituality with people’s professional life
Implement Stewardship yoU – a broad menu of stewardship formation opportunities
Develop and expand Ministry Leader Training
Increase the contributions per family by educating the parishioners on their Christian financial responsibilities
“We are responsible stewards of our talents and worldly goods.”