Celebrating (Not-so) Small Successes in Adult Faith Formation


Numerous books and websites dealing with successful leadership strategies identify the importance of celebrating small successes (or “wins” or “victories”). Here is one such example: Brenda Bence: The Top 10 Reasons Why Leaders Should Celebrate Wins. This is precisely the reason why we are hosting a celebration tonight at Christ the King Parish: to celebrate the success of our Lenten small faith groups!

Now that we are in the Easter season—a time of celebration—we are hosting a reception for any and all of the participants of our “Companions in Faith” Lenten program. That program saw seven small groups gather over 80 people weekly over four weeks during Lent to reflect on and discuss the upcoming Sunday Gospel readings. Have small groups been done before? Of course. We did not invent anything new. However, this was a brand new idea for this parish and was the parish’s first foray into a serious attempt to emphasize adult faith formation. This is something to be celebrated.

Here is the e-mail that went out to all of the participants. Notice that it lays the foundation for “next steps!”

Dear Companions in Faith Participant,

It’s hard to believe that our four-week journey of Companions in Faith has already come and gone! Thank you so much for participating and making this venture such an enriching experience for our parish faith community. To celebrate the success of Companions in Faith, we will be hosting a reception on Monday, April 4, at 7:00 pm, in the Gleeson Center. You are invited to this celebration to gather with the members of your small group and meet folks who participated in the other small groups. We will be serving heavy hors d’oeuvres so bring your appetite. Please know that we are looking at conducting another session of Companions in Faith later this year, most likely in the fall. To that end, we will be forming an Adult Faith Formation Team, headed by parishioner Jim Docherty, to oversee the development of this and other adult faith formation opportunities for Christ the King Parish. What an exciting time for our faith community! We look forward to celebrating with you. Until then, may you be filled with Lenten blessings!  


Fr. Larry and the Companions in Faith Planning Team

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.


  1. How did you recruit the people who participated in the group sessions?
    Where did the groups meet -in their homes or on parish facilities?

    • Hi Bernadine. We personally recruited 7 small group leaders and then invited parishioners to sign up. We promoted it for weeks and then had a “sign-up Sunday” when the priests spoke about this from the pulpit at all the masses and sign up cards were provided in the pews and in the bulletin. Half of the groups met in homes and half at the rectory. Let me know if you have more questions.

  2. After reading Under the Influence of Jesus, I decided to use the sound bites from movies or music to emphasize a point in my RE classes. One of the more successful ones was to take the term we hear “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”, and turn it around and DON’T apply it to Mass. So many of us believe that what happen in Mass, stays in Mass. All the peace, love and prayers we profess at Mass, should be left at the doors when we leave our church. Eyes seem to open when placed in a current today term.

    • Jim, that is a great idea. I recently saw a church marquee that said, “What happens in Vegas…is forgiven here!” 😉

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