Calling Forth Catechists: Why People Volunteer

As you call forth vocations to catechesis, it’s good to know why people volunteer in the first place. Understanding why people volunteer makes it easier to identify and invite people to volunteer. Research shows that people volunteer for the following reasons. Achievement—to learn new skills, accomplish something worthwhile, increase self-esteem Challenge—to stretch themselves, discover gifts and talents Creativity—to express themselves creatively Independence—to undertake a task on their own (separate from spouse or family) Leadership—to develop personal leadership […]

Calling Forth Catechists: A Catechist Role Description

As you set forth to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist, it’s a good idea to have a role description in place to describe what you are calling them to. Be careful not to make your role description so demanding and lofty that not even Jesus would qualify! Keep it simple and basic so as not to scare anyone away but specific enough to narrow the field so that you’re not […]

Recruiting, Nay, Calling and Forming Catechists

Recruiting and forming catechists is a primary responsibility for catechetical leaders and is an ongoing challenge. You’re not just looking for any warm body but for people with the gifts that enable them to apprentice others into the faith. With that in mind, I prefer to use the word calling instead of recruiting. We recruit people to perform a function. We call people to live out a vocation! Serving as a catechist is more than simple volunteerism. […]

Four Ways to Retain Catechists

It is estimated that there are about 500,000 volunteer catechists in the United States and that, each year, one-third of them—150,000—”turn over.” I’m sure that sometimes it feels like all 150,000 catechists who leave are from your parish! The truth is, it takes a lot of hard work to retain catechists. In her new book, Cultivating Your Catechists: How to Recruit, Encourage, and Retain Successful Catechists, Jayne Ragasa-Mondoy shares four principles for retaining catechists. Support […]

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 […]

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