52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion

A Church on the Move by Joe Paprocki
As you may know, my most recent book is now available: A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion. Many parishes are using this book with their parish staff and/or parish pastoral council and other groups of parish leaders to jump-start some creative brainstorming for energizing their parish faith communities. In the book, I provide 52 practical ideas that can contribute to getting a parish out of the rut of maintenance-mode and into a mindset of movement powered by mission and mercy. Here are the 52 suggestions in brief. Some of them are hyperlinked to posts I’ve done previously that expound on the idea, while others will leave you scratching your head as you wonder, “What does Joe mean by this one?”—which, of course, means that you’ll have to buy the book to find out!


52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion—At a Glance

  1. Focus on brokenness.
  2. Create an atmosphere of urgency.
  3. Sing at every parish gathering.
  4. Create discipleship pledge cards.
  5. Focus on increased presence in people’s lives.
  6. Make Jesus’ Death and Resurrection the center of parish life.
  7. Promote Catholic practices.
  8. Cultivate spiritual wellness.
  9. Foster a robust Catholic identity.
  10. Rely on consensus building for major decisions.
  11. Flaunt diversity.
  12. Conduct worshipful work at parish meetings.
  13. Empower adults to mentor one another in faith.
  14. Articulate expectations of parishioners.
  15. Make all parish venues more welcoming.
  16. Foster healing from the sex-abuse crisis.
  17. Develop a flourishing online presence.
  18. Change your parish appreciation dinner to a “Celebration of Ministries.”
  19. Enlist young adults in leadership positions.
  20. Foster dialogue over current events pertaining to the Catholic faith.
  21. Engage all the senses in worship experiences.
  22. “Warm up” the congregation before Mass.
  23. Infuse worship with more silence.
  24. Liven up the music.
  25. Fashion more energetic and frequent processions.
  26. Form a homily committee.
  27. Institute an offertory ritual to replace collection baskets.
  28. Promote drinking from the cup at Communion.
  29. Mobilize the “troops” after Communion.
  30. Foster worship at parish gatherings.
  31. Implement faith formation that is powered by works of mercy rather than doctrine.
  32. Make adult faith formation a bona fide priority.
  33. Keep it simple.
  34. Empower parents to be their children’s primary educators.
  35. Offer variety for adult faith formation.
  36. Get adults talking to one another.
  37. Train adults in leadership/facilitator skills.
  38. Hire college students to serve as catechists.
  39. Form small faith-sharing groups.
  40. Teach adults to pray as adults.
  41. Help adults learn how to listen for God’s voice.
  42. Connect adult faith formation to everyday living.
  43. Shift parish focus to serving the needs of the poor above all else.
  44. Promulgate a consistent ethic of life.
  45. Go green.
  46. Invite people to heroic living.
  47. Connect with people where they are.
  48. Teach people how to share their stories of faith.
  49. Begin a door-to-door ministry.
  50. Focus parish attention outward.
  51. Encourage living simply.
  52. Take the “show on the road”—into people’s homes.
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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