Come Thou Long Expected Parishioners: Week 2
For the next four weeks, we'll be taking a look at how you can prepare your church for one of the best opportunities you have during the year to evangelize and attract new parishioners: Christmas. Using the themes of the four weeks of Advent as our guide (hope, faith, joy, and peace), I'll give you a few tasks to do each week on how to best prepare for this great evangelization opportunity.
Week 2: Faith
Does your church reflect faith?
You would certainly hope so, but sometimes, in all of the frenzy about bringing people to our churches, we can sometimes forget that we have to feed them spiritually once they arrive.
So what if your church isn't the "fun" church? So what if you never get around to organizing that new study group or ordering new linens for the church? So what if your liturgical ministers mess up or there is traffic in the parking lot? If you bring one new soul to Christ this Christmas, that's worth more than anything else you do this Advent season. To do this week:
This week, take a look at your liturgical plans for Christmas. Do they teach your congregation about the faith? Will they give them an encounter with our Lord? This should be your primary goal this Advent, to make sure that people walk away with a deepened faith this season.
Related to faith, check with your religious education, Catholic school, or RCIA to see if they would like to put in a small blurb advertising their programs in the Christmas bulletin.
Take stock of all of your liturgical needs. Do you have (and know where) all of the vessels, hosts, wine, etc. you need are? If not, place any last minute orders this week.
Reach out to your liturgical ministers to schedule practices for Christmas Masses.
Write a blurb for the bulletin that will encourage people's faith and give them something new to learn. If you try to wait until next week, you'll never find the time, so set aside some time now to spiritually feed all who read your bulletin for Christmas.
Consider hosting a faith-based study or group for the new year that you can advertise at Christmas Masses (maybe even a Discovering Christ or Alpha series).
Make sure your church has reminders of the faith - missals, statues, rosaries, Bibles, etc.
Don't forget to spiritually nourish yourself this week! Take some time for Adoration, Mass, or Bible study to help prepare your own heart for Christmas.