Last week a friend shared with me that earlier in the month he had a discussion with a few other men and some were lamenting the fact that they had 4 or 5 different Advent daily reflections being delivered to their email inbox.  Some were overwhelmed and felt like “failures” because they couldn’t get all of them read each day.  Too much of a good thing had quickly turned into a bad thing.

The solution?  “Just do 1 reflection and do it well!  Hit the delete button on the other four and don’t feel guilty about it,” my friend advised.

This is such a common problem in our culture.  We swim in the message that “more is better” and we believe it.  Very soon we are drowning in too many good options, ideas, programs and activities.  The good things we are trying to do to draw closer to the Lord or serve His mission become a source of stress and simply add to an already over-filled calendar. 

The Lord is inviting us to unclutter our hearts and find silence and instead we are drawn into even more frenzied activity. As I visit with parish leaders, I see this same thing happening within parishes and in our ministries as well.   Many people feel overwhelmed with too much to do already and feel pressured to take on more projects and tasks at every turn.

I don’t believe the Lord intends our service to His mission to foster this lack of peace and I am hopeful that the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish can assist parishes in fighting this tendency.  

The Characteristics can provide a framework that encourages strategic planning, team building and communication.  These tools can help clarify our mission, discern priorities and let go of programs and tasks that are not fruitful.  They can help build a more positive and collaborative culture within the parish that energizes those who participate in its ministry.  The Characteristics can also provide standards that help us all strive for excellence and keep our focus on the New Evangelization.  These tools used by those whose lives are firmly rooted in prayer can be very fruitful.

In those parishes where ministry seems to be vibrant and parish leaders remain energized and positive, I see leaders who have taken the approach of taking on one or two things at a time and doing them well.  

Faithful but small steps taken day after day cover a large amount of ground in the long run.  I have also observed them planning well so their direction is clear, and they aren’t tempted to get off track by the newest fad or trend.  They have structures in place and culture which encourages them to keep reminding each other of the goals they have set and primary reason they are there. They strive to be encouraging and inspirational and to pray and work for the perseverance to keep going; knowing that it isn’t about programs, it is about a Catholic Way of Life.  I am looking forward to working alongside parishes and celebrating the successes along the way in 2019! 

Merry Christmas! 



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Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418
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