Dave VanVickle answers listener emails on how to evangelize and make disciples of parish staff and how to collaborate with co-workers in the mission of evangelization.
Snippet from the Show
We are called to faithfulness, not success.
A priest recently assigned to a new parish wants advice for what to do with a staff that he perceives to be unevangelized and not disciples. Dave offers 5 steps forward.
1. Evaluate why you believe the staff to be unevangelized.
If new to a parish, there is a chance that you may not fully understand the staff yet. Perhaps, there is a level of privacy that each of them holds in regards to their faith life. Or maybe, the staff does not have the language to express their love for God and the different aspects of their spiritual life.
To evaluate your staff members, ask a few different questions:
- Does each staff member have a personal prayer life?
- Do they know the faith?
- Are they serious about sin?
2. Introduce a rubric for discipleship.
Lay out your expectations for the parish. Share with the staff where you hope to take the parish and your vision for it. A great tool would be Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. Read it together as a staff to help your staff understand your expectations.
3. Develop relationships with your staff.
Find time in your schedule to be with your staff. If you are going to try and evangelize your staff, you must build relationships with them. Make time for 1-1 conversations and staff gatherings.
There are a few different elements to this step. First, make time to pray as a staff. Slot time each week for the whole staff to pray together. Make it clear that all staff must be present. Keep the prayer simple with either a Rosary, Holy Hour, or maybe a Bible Study. Second, find time to pray with your staff individually, whether it is at the beginning of a meeting or before an event. Third, encourage each staff member to pursue their personal prayer life. Allow the staff time to pray during the workday. Finally, ask the parish to pray for the staff.
5. Staff Retreat
About six months in advance, announce to the staff that there will be a staff retreat. This is a great opportunity to go deeper in prayer and formation with the staff. Be sure to prepare well for the retreat so that you can serve the staff to the best of your abilities.
A young woman who is working at a parish as the Director of Evangelization needs advice on how to navigate her working relationship with the new parochial vicar. He has decided he wants to be in charge of evangelization. He hasn’t said this, but he is making decisions and he is forming plans of his own. This is causing professional problems. Dave offers suggestions on how to remedy this situation:
1. Cultivate that Relationship
Take some time to get to know the other person. Build that relationship. It can be very helpful to learn the other person’s strengths so that you can see your compatibility as a team.
2. Find Clarity on Job Assignments
Speak with the pastor and ask for clarity on job responsibilities and who has authority over what. Also, have a conversation with the parochial vicar. Be clear and express your desire not to rival each other. It is much better to work together towards a common goal. Offer your help towards certain initiatives. And lastly, explain how your different strengths can help one another.
Start each day by saying the following prayer:
Lord, if you send someone to me, I promise to tell them what you have done for me.
Dust off that that old testimony. Testimonies develop over time and so it is good to revisit your testimony and make changes or additions where necessary.
Pray with someone. When someone comes to you with a problem, take that opportunity to pray with them.
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.