Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS

Many catechetical leaders are familiar with the struggle of trying to find catechists at the last minute and begging parishioners for help. We have all heard the horror stories of people who tentatively volunteered and two weeks later found themselves standing in front of a room full of students, unsure of themselves and wondering how they ended up in this position. If our catechists are the backbone of our faith formation programs, then recruiting and […]

Interviewing Your Catechists

Recently, I received the following message from Martha: Hello, I am searching for a catechist interview. I am a new DRE and I am wondering if that is a wise idea. I will appreciate your feedback. The quick response is “Yes,” it is a good idea to interview your catechists, not just when you are recruiting them, but also at the beginning and end of each year. I recognize that this may be impossible for […]

Catechist Recruitment via Webinar

Like in many parishes, the faith formation department at my parish is challenged to find enough catechists each year. We’ve held meetings and created a webpage with videos, job description, and links to useful resources. We’ve explained our need for catechists (and the benefits of being a catechist) in a family e-newsletter, the parish bulletin, and on Facebook. We’ve posted colorful flyers and asked for volunteers via the parish Twitter account. Whether we write long […]

Four Tips to Recruit and Train New Catechists

Just when I think I have a fantastic team of catechists in place someone moves out of town, schedules change, or some other issues arise, and I find myself searching for new catechists, often at the last minute. Recruiting and training catechists is an annual endeavor for every catechetical program. Here are some simple strategies I have used to recruit and train catechists. 1. Find people in your parish with teaching experience. Teachers can make […]

Think Young! Intentionality in Planning and Recruiting

One of my favorite lines from the movie La La Land comes from the lips of the character Keith, played by John Legend, as he tells the character Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling: Jazz is dying because of people like you. You’re playing to 90-year-olds at the Lighthouse. Where are the kids? Where are the young people? You’re so obsessed with Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk. These guys were revolutionaries. How are you going to […]

Nothing Beats the Personal Touch When Recruiting Catechists

This Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 4:12–23) is a reminder to us that nothing beats the personal touch when it comes to inviting people into ministry. And this time of the year—late winter—is a good time to start your catechist recruitment efforts for next year. Jesus did not put up posters or distribute literature inviting people to follow him; he used the personal approach. He asked people what they were looking for and then he invited them to […]

Last-Minute Catechist Recruitment: Don’t Compromise!

In an ideal world, all of our recruitment for catechists would have wrapped up early in the summer, so that now we could just move forward with training, formation, and the start of the catechetical year. In reality, however, we know that last-minute openings pop up, and catechetical leaders find themselves scrambling to do some last-minute recruitment of catechists. It’s important to remember that, while time is short, we must not compromise on our standards […]

Meet the “Worst” Catechist

I love this article that my friend and colleague Denise Gorss brought to my attention. It’s titled “Why I’m the Worst Catechist at My Parish, and Still Signing Up,” and it’s written by catechist Deirdre Mundy. What I love about it is her humility—something that is a great quality for every catechist to have. She is most definitely NOT the worst catechist, but the fact that she recognizes her own unworthiness and places her trust […]

Who Should Serve as Catechists?

In most parishes the process of finding catechists is pretty simple: we ask, even beg, for people to fill empty slots and some come forward. If that fails, we may tap former catechists or aides, or ask parents of children in the program to fill the needs. Failing that, we may even resort to guilt: “If no one volunteers, our children will have no one to teach them the faith.” Too often it seems we […]

How Do We Recruit New Catechists? INVITE Them!

What is it that all DREs know about the majority of Catholic families today? They are overwhelmed by an overbooked schedule of events and work, and growing our faith is often deferred to those once-in-a-while moments when things are quiet; that is not necessarily weekend Mass. So how do we find future catechists? I propose we INVITE people to consider the call to be a catechist. I = INITIATE a conversation. Regular parent gatherings or […]

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