One of the temptations we face when looking to grow our adult faith formation experience in the parish is to try to become all things to all people when we simply do not have the resources—human and financial—to do everything we would like to do. With that in mind, I propose that parishes think of themselves as a “clearinghouse” or “portal” for information about spiritual enrichment opportunities. The fact is, your diocese may have a number of retreat centers that offer opportunities for spiritual growth and enrichment. Why not encourage your parishioners to take advantage of these opportunities?
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, we are blessed to have a number of retreat centers that offer, in addition to a place to go on retreat, a number of programs and opportunities for spiritual growth. As part of our adult faith formation efforts at Christ the King Parish, we are in the process of finding a parishioner to take this on as a ministry: gathering a list of spiritual enrichment opportunities to publish in our parish bulletin (and possibly on the parish website) on a monthly basis. Even though these opportunities are not taking place at our parish, this listing provides the unmistakable evidence that our parish prizes spiritual growth for adults and positions the parish leadership as being not only in touch with such opportunities, but as experts in the area of spiritual growth.
Here is one such listing as it appeared in our parish bulletin (page 8) for this September. Note at the bottom the invitation for a parishioner to consider taking this on as an ongoing ministry.
Remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself—either as an individual or even as a parish! Look for opportunities to send your people to other “agencies” that offer quality spiritual enrichment.