If I can steal wisdom from our Protestant brothers and sisters for a moment... a "purpose-driven" ministry is a fruitful endeavor. I was reading "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields and I'd like to share with you a part of his very helpful vision for planning events in the context of Christian discipleship.
Everything serves a purpose, a specific purpose (or at least it should). An event or program may in fact serve multiple purposes, but what are they? The better we understand our goals, the better chance we have of reaching them. The "purpose-drive" vision highlights five essential goals for the Church's mission:
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1. Evangelization: An intimate and living relationship with Jesus is the source and summit of all we do as Christians. The facilitation and cultivation of this relationship is our highest priority. This is achieved through various means, but sometimes basic evangelization is the specific goal for why we do something.
2. Catechesis: The more we come to know Jesus, the more we want to know him. If the relationship is truly alive, it's that of a lover and his beloved. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a longing that literally consumes us, a desire to know the Word more intimately each day. It's important we provide (for ourselves and for others) opportunities to foster and feed this growing intellectual hunger.
3. Fellowship: Human beings long to love and to be loved. It's our nature. Friendships fulfill this basic human need. Without opportunities
4. Worship: This is really what it's all about. To pray without ceasing. To live for God. To live for others. To make our lives a gift, a living sacrifice of spiritual worship. And to receive God's love. We come together as his Body and Bride to be filled with the Spirit, united in his merciful embrace, nourished by the Bread of angels and to offer our lives back in thanksgiving for it all. Hopefully this is starting to happen mystically (and intentionally) in all that we do, but we keep the liturgy central; for it's the wellspring of divine life.
5. Service: To receive God's love is to be sent. The mission of Jesus is alive in his disciples. We take Jesus at his word when he says "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me." As a parish community, as Church, we bear far more fruit than we ever could on our own as individuals. Everyone has specific gifts, and together they carry out the mission. We must always be looking for ways to serve the poor among us, to build up our brothers and sisters, and to grow our community.
I find it helpful to see these five goals laid out. They seem obvious enough, but are we achieving them? Could we be more effective in any of these areas? Live with purpose. Be intentional.
1 - Share Yourself 2 - Know the Kerygma 3 - Pray. Especially When You Don't Have Time.
4 - Collaborate 5 - Invite. Invite. Invite. 6 - Be Cheerful 7 - Do the Task at Hand
8 - Don't Forget Recess 9 - It Begins with a Smile 10 - The Topic is Always Jesus
11 - The WIIFM Principle 12 - Recapture the Enchantment 13 - Learn to Use Youtube
14 - The Art of Accompaniment 15 - The Art of Listening
16 - Eat Food. It's Part of Evangelization 17 - Everything Leads to Liturgy
18 - Self-love Can Still Be Other-centered 19 - It Will Never Be Perfect, Don't Stress
20 - The "Student" is the Whole Family 21 - Catechesis is a MEANS of Evangelization 22 - The 5 Means of Evangelization 23 - The Christian Life is Service 24 - Doctrine is for Prayer. 25 - From Evangelization to Immanuelization 26 - Humility, Love, and 'Eucharistic' Anticipation 27 - People Change People 28 - Salvation History is Our Story 29 - Mutual Forgiveness 30 - Fraternal Correction 31 - Build-Up Families 32 - Affirmative Orthodoxy 33 - Emphasize the Mission 34 - Talk about Tithing 35 - Recognize Bondage 36 - Encourage Ignatian Discernment 37 - Be Patient. It's a Process. 38 - The Thresholds of Conversion 39 - What... or, better yet, Who is the Parish? 40 - There's no place like a Home 41 - The Etymology of Respect 42 - Connect People 43 - To Receive is to Give