Church, we need to get in the game.
By Church, I mean you and me, the Body of Christ. This means the faithful of course but I specifically want to address the youth and young adults out there. You're not the Church of tomorrow, you're the Church of today. Here is the field we are playing in and we need to get at it...
2019 A.D. in Buffalo, NY, the Church is taking a beating. Of course the Church has been through worse in history. Christians aren't being fed to lions or lit on fire to illuminate the roads. But we have been better. What's more, we can be better.
A few decades of erosion have been working on our foundation. Lack of engagement, uninspired faithfulness, relativism, and scandal have given our Church a weathered attitude. This is not the story of being Catholic. It's time to snap out of it.
The Church which includes our parishes and Diocese as well as charities, schools, and ministries are sagging under the pressures. I want to use this moment of your attention to call you to arms. We can't run from the fire, we need to run to it.
It's time to get in the game. Ask not what the Church can do for you, but what you can do for the Church. If we are the hands and feet of Christ, how are we moving? If our Body isn't in motion, then we don't move forward.
Here is how you can help us win the fight for a better Church.
1. Pray: Make the time to get back into the pews (or chairs if the church is under repair) on Sunday. Be a part of the community prayer in the Mass. Show up, participate, listen, sing, learn, and reconnect. Pick up your bible and start with the Gospels or visit Jesus in Adoration. Pray for one another.
If you're not registered at a parish and young adults are notorious with this, go to a parish and commit to the community. Stop bouncing around or leaning on the coattails of your parent's registration. Belong and commit.
Get in the game.
2. Time: There are plenty of roles that need to be done that just require some time and not a lot of training. Find them, commit to a time slot in a ministry that needs help. Greeters, core teams, catechists, money counters, Eucharistic ministers, and so on. Follow your strengths. Pick up the bulletin or look it up online and see a role that could use some hands.
Try things out. Find what clicks and stay long enough to be a leader and make changes if needed. Just don't go in like a bull in a china shop. Be humble and learn from the role and the leader in place.
Get in the game.
3. Talent: In addition to roles that need to be done, the Church needs your talent. You have skill. You're good at that one thing. What is it? How can you use it in the Church? Ask someone how you can plug it in. Can you donate that skill? Can you apply that full-time?
Are you in banking or finance? Marketing and design? Build websites? IT? Barista and can make a good coffee? Set designer? Corporate trainer? CRM specialist? Chef?
Get in the game.
4. Treasure: Yes the Church needs money to run. It especially needs funds to grow. I know, I know, you don't want to pay for the scandal but let me put your mind at rest.
Your donation in the envelope doesn't go towards that. Upon This Rock doesn't go towards that. Catholic Charities and Fund for the Faith doesn't go towards that. The bishop sold his residence and some investments to do so. We're also covered in insurance. If you're running from the fire, it's giving people on the front line less to work with. That's us going backwards.
Give your first fruits and be regular. Can you commit to 10% of your income? Shoot, can you commit to $20 a week? Lights need to be on, youth ministers need budgets, and the Church needs tools and people.
"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered" Proverbs 11:25
Roll up your sleeves, get in the game, and let the Lord use you and your resources. Come with a servant's attitude. Take a bit of that drive you have for school and workplace and bring it to God's House. Give your first fruits of prayer, time, talent, and/or treasure.
Collections and participation are down around the Diocese by 10-20% this year alone. The older generation that has been supporting the Church is dying off. Imagine what we would look like if we brought our talent and resources back into the game? Run to the fire. Take this to prayer with you. Ask the Lord how you can help. He's knocking.
Adam Jarosz is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at St. Gregory the Great. His vocation involves loving his wife Ani and two babies, Isabella and Wyatt. He also loves writing, hitting the weights, and building up people. Need advice on how to use your skills? Shoot him a message firstname.lastname@example.org.