Positive Approach to Recruiting Catechists

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve had an outpouring of response here on Catechist’s Journey to a plea for help from a catechetical leader named Barbara that I posted the other day! Thanks so much to everyone for offering such good advice, not only for Barbara’s benefit, but for all of us. In particular, I wanted to highlight a response from Mary Ann in which she not only provides some advice but also shares some examples of her recruitment materials. Nice job, Mary Ann!

Hi Barbara,

I agree with Joe and others on not to sound desparate – stay away from the word “need”. A good recruitment message has these components:

  1. Tell the story
  2. Let people know how they can help and the impact they will make.
  3. Let people know how they themselves will benefit.
  4. Let people know what you will provide such as training, resources, etc.

I have three examples of what I have used below – your numbers will be much smaller, but you can adapt these if you find them helpful. I also find surfacing names and personal invitation through letters of call sent with position descriptions very helpful. The letters of call and position descriptions give people time to pray and reflect before you follow up with a phone call. Amazingly, they work! I have also sent a more general letter of call to parents along with personal letters of call to specific people. Feel free to contact me at mmarschall@epiphanymn.org (note marschall is spelled with an “sch” and I can send you samples and would be happy to anwser questions if that would be helpful.)

Faith: the Next Generation – Pass It On!
Boldly go where many have gone before and help pass on the Good News of Jesus Christ and our Catholic faith! This fall, over 800 children and young people, preschool through grade 12, will sign up to learn more about Jesus and the Catholic faith. At this time, over 130 of these children and young people have no catechist to teach them. You can help by becoming a catechist for Faith Formation. As you nurture the faith of our young, you will learn and grow as well! As one long-time catechist put it, “I learn so much from the children!” We provide you with training, materials, and support. Classes begin September 21. If interested or for more information, contact…

Pass It Forward!
Over 800 children and young people, preschool through grade 12, will sign up this fall to learn more about Jesus and the Catholic faith. You can help them learn and grow by becoming a catechist for Faith Formation. With classes offered Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday afternoons and evenings you are almost sure to find a time that fits your schedule. As you nurture the faith of our young, you will learn and grow as well! As one long-time catechist put it, “I learn so much from the children!” We provide you with training, materials, and support. Classes begin September 21. If interested or for more information, contact …

Pass On the Good News!
What good news? – The Good News of Jesus Christ and our Catholic faith! This fall, over 800 children and young people, preschool through grade 12, will sign up to learn more about Jesus and the Catholic faith. You can help them learn and grow in faith by becoming a catechist for Faith Formation. With classes offered Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday afternoons and evenings you are almost sure to find a time that fits your schedule. As you nurture the faith of our young, you will learn and grow as well! As one long-time catechist put it, “I learn so much from the children!” We provide you with training, materials, and support. Classes begin September 21. If interested or for more information, contact …

About Joe Paprocki 2115 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has more than 30 years of experience in ministry and has taught at many different levels. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Catechist’s Toolbox and Under the Influence of Jesus.

11 Comments on Positive Approach to Recruiting Catechists

  1. Thank you for posting this!! It is concise, and powerful! I am putting it in the parish bulletin next weekend.

    Mary Ellen

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing! I love this blog, especially as a place to come for some spiritual comfort and some support from fellow catechists and catechetical leaders.

    No matter how far apart we may be, we are never alone in the game so long as we have resources like this.

    My cohorts and I in religious ed are about to launch a campaign for new catechists and the “need” is great. With good stuff like this to back us up, and prayer on our side, I see great things ahead for us!

  3. I have also been in the Catechist business for over 30 years and this time of year is very exciting. I am watching families and individuals at Mass for some good teachers of the faith. We have alot of new young adults too to approach.
    Our parish has begun a Stewardship site which has also helped after the Ministry Fair in April. Each ministry leader will then have a group of volunteers to contact and connect with.
    Thank you for the letter ideas…I will definitely try them..bulletins don’t seem to work very well…person to person is the best…time to get some “new blood” going in the veins of Religious Formation here!!

  4. I was hoping and praying that this is also written up in Spanish, that’s where my main struggle is as both the DRE and a Catechist. I would love to be able to share my faith and friendship with our spanish speaking parents….. if you don’t have this in Spanish I’m sure I can find someone to translate, I just thought I would ask first. Love all of them!!!

  5. Thank-you so much for these, they are so helpful. They are direct, faith focused and engaging. I love them. Thank-you,Thank-you. PS – if you want them translated and posted, I can do it, just let me know.

  6. Dear Joe,

    As a Coordinator of Religious Education, I find the annual length of commitment for my Catechists somewhat demanding, especially during the winter months.

    I am trying to institute a radical approach to RE Sunday morning teaching by having two sets of teaching teams for each grade, either alternating each Sunday or one team teaching the first half of the lessons and the other team teaching the second half of the lessons.

    Has anyone tried this approach to lessen the burden of teaching each Sunday morning, and thus freeing up some weekends for dedicated Catechists? Has it worked?

    • Hi Nick and thanks for sharing your experience. I have heard of this done in a few places and it seems like an effective strategy. It helps catechists feel like part of a real team or army as opposed to “lone rangers!”

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