Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Six Ways to Grow Disciples

This article by Diana Macalintal originally appeared in Parish Life, #256, July 2005.

Instead of recruiting volunteers, work on growing disciples. Here are six simple ways to begin.

  1. Uphold the dignity of baptism. Infants, the sick and elderly—any who are “useless” by the world’s standards are integral to the Church. Each in their unique way builds up the Body.

  2. Train catechumens in the work of the apostolate. Easter or Pentecost is not the time to get the newly-baptized to “sign up” for ministry. Their Christian work began when they became catechumens. Apprentice them throughout their catechumenate in the activities of the Church.

  3. Match talents to needs. We’re not simply filling empty slots with warm bodies. Help people discern their God-given gifts and how they can be best put to use in the work of the Church.

  4. Don’t use sacraments as “reward” for service. Service hour quotas for sacramental preparation create a consumerist mentality about discipleship. Instead, teach full participation in all the Church’s works as a lifelong commitment.

  5. Stop asking people to “help Father.” Ministry is about exercising one’s baptismal right and duty, not about helping Father. The lay apostolate and the ordained work together to accomplish the Church’s mission. Without either, the Church cannot function.

  6. Honor the work of the faithful in the world. Don’t denigrate those who never “sign up.” Discipleship is lived primarily at home and in the workplace.

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