We are back! As we get into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually, and emotionally?
I'm late to the party but that's okay.
After a summer away (sort of) the Not Alone Series is back to regular weekly posting on Tuesday not Thursday like I am posting right now. Although I did start this over the weekend but life happened so I am trying to finish.
This week we are looking at ways we can be more involved at church or in our communities. Right off the bat I thought about knowing the needs. At our church they are always requesting lectors and people to help prepare the Alter. There are also needs that are not being fulfilled at all that may exist. Once after Mass I heard a young mother asking the co-ordinator if there were any programs for her pre-school age son.
Now we have a thriving school-age children's ministry and a very good youth ministry but nothing for the pre-schoolers. I really thought about maybe starting something just crafts and bible stories or something but with kids especially younger kids you have to be consistent and unfortunately other commitments keep me from being there consistently right now. It is something I do think we need and maybe my job is not to lead it but just to get the idea out there and just help out where I can after it gets going.
I am a lector. I started back in Confirmation days because as part of our programme you have to be involved in some aspect of Mass. I can't sing so choir was out but I loved to read and I read well even those pesky Old Testament names once I get a chance to practice them. The first few time I read I raced through those reading like no bodies business but over time I got used to standing in front of the crowd without internally freaking out and wanting to get away as fast as possible.
I also work at putting on retreats, which is actually just something I fell into. There are two different sets of retreats that I work with. the first one I attended a few years ago and they usually try to encourage past retreatants to give back in some way. I started off signing up to be pray support but then a friend of mine really started getting involved and she put me down as a vicariate co-ordinator. I was a little hesitant at first, it seemed like a lot of work and also way out of my comfort zone, talking to strangers and answering questions about the retreat, pre-registration. It turns out it's not that much work and it was actually good for me. I am still an introvert but I am much more outgoing.
The second retreat I also just kind of fell into because yet another friend just thought I would be just perfect fit for the co-ordinating team. I really need to evaluate my choice in friends :). Turns out she was right. I am more involved with all aspects of this retreat and it is a lot of work but it really stretches me. A couple years ago there are many jobs I would have begged someone else to take over but I find myself many times taking the initiative to get things done, like calling up priests and asking if they will be available to give confession. For a weekend retreat you get more no's that yes because priests are busy and it's not just for Mass. Last year my former confessor had to make quite a few changes to his schedule in order to say yes and none of the events he needed to change was a Mass.
I am still learning this but balance is needed when getting more involved with parish ministries and community. Three years ago I said no to a lot because I didn't feel I had the time and the fear that I wasn't good enough to be involved. Two years ago I said yes to practically everything because I felt guilty for saying no so much the year before and I really wanted to be more involved. I was overwhelmed and tired, I frustrated and really burnt out. Last year I tried to strike a balance by not saying yes to everything but not saying no right off the bat either. Not sure if I got it right but it was definitely better than the year before.
This year I think I am recognizing more where my strengths lie and not letting guilt lead me into more commitments than I can handle.
What about you? Are you involved in your parish community? Do you want to be more involved, what's stopping you?
Visit Morgan for the link up to see what everyone else is saying and maybe add your own thoughts on the subject.