It’s important in your approach to calling people to serve as catechists to be positive! I’ve seen bulletin announcements that sound so desperate: “We are in dire need of catechists. We keep losing good catechists every year. Without catechists, we may have to cancel our religious education program!” Language like that makes it sound like you’re inviting someone to hop aboard a sinking ship.
Present your program in a positive light, and describe the role of being a catechist as an opportunity to grow in faith. Avoid sounding desperate, and instead emphasize how crucial this ministry is. Use language that honors the potential catechists and their motivation and gives them something positive to respond to. Most of all, emphasize that, as a catechist, the person will be joining a “catechetical community of faith”—a small faith group in which catechists will find support in their personal and spiritual lives. Here are some effective approaches to consider:
- Witness talks from current catechists (at Mass, after Communion).
- Profiles of current catechists in the church bulletin or local paper.
- Planting seeds when parents are registering their children. (“You would make a good catechist; have you ever thought about it?”)
- Social media, such as a Facebook page for catechists, to direct potential candidates to.
- Invitation to a “no obligation” dinner (or wine and cheese, or coffee and…) for potential catechists.
- Personal appearances at parish organizations to invite people to consider the call to serve as a catechist.
- Visibility at Sunday Masses and other parish functions to observe, identify, and approach people to plant seeds and/or to invite.
- Phone calls to potential catechists and to former catechists.
Use printed materials for support and to build awareness, not as your only strategy. What other approaches would you suggest?