I have been describing these next years here at St. John as the time of flexibility and patience. We are building a brand new Life Center. We are renovating existing buildings. We are starting new programs and enhancing current ones. We will be taking a hard look at some efforts of our parish and determining their priority and validity in supporting Our Mission. For example, the Super Bowl Party attendance and engagement of the Parish Family has been steadily declining for the past 5 years. The amount raised to support the Youth Group has been minimal. It is time to try something different, especially in the spirit of our new Catholic Youth Organization and Catholic Adult Organization. The same focus on how we effectively serve the Parish Family and the community around us is being applied to our Ministries as well.
Several months ago, we held Town Halls with all the leadership of the ministries of Saint John the Evangelist. It was clear in those meetings just how many dedicated and passionate individuals there are in our parish. So many efforts are going on to help our church, the Naples area, and all over the world. It was heartening to see how much everyone wanted to collaborate and find ways to better engage our Parish Family to grow. It was also clear that being able to work together requires all of us to understand each other’s ministries and how they could relate to each person that may be looking to join our active church. The Pastoral Stewardship Council, led by Rick Beebe, took the feedback from the Town Halls, along with the material we have gathered about each ministry over the past year, and has developed several new initiatives to make it easier to communicate and attract people to both our ministries and our parish as a whole.
One of these initiatives is a new communication strategy illustrating the categories of the various groups that live here at Saint John. Sometimes, it can be confusing for someone looking for an activity to quickly browse our bulletin or website and find what they are looking for because many different types of activities are bundled together. Starting next week, we will begin to organize the ministries and groups of St. John to make it simple to find an organization that you may want to be a part of or learn more about. The main categories for this ministerial opportunities will be:
- Operational: There are many efforts here at St. John that directly impact our ability to perform the mission essential functions of our Parish, namely providing Masses and Services that make us a Catholic Church. The organizations ensure those functions occur seamless for our Parish Family, like the Sacristans, Lectors, Arts and Liturgical, Faith Formation, Gift Boutique and others are called to serve in a dedicated and devotional way.
- Ministry: These organizations truly live out the St. John Mission Statement in actively pursuing their own vision and goals as well as engaging the entire parish in growing their ministry in both function and membership. They are specifically developed and operated within our Parish Family, even if they have additional membership from the larger community. The Knights of Columbus, Ladies of Charity, Men’s Club, and Companion Driving Ministry are just a few example of the dozens of ministries here at Saint John.
- Group: These primarily external organizations provide social, spiritual and service type programs here for our Parish Family as well as for Naples. Groups usually have an “inward” focus, and some of the examples of groups include Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Faith and Wine, and Mahjong.
In the next few weeks, you will see the bulletin will be reorganized to represent these different organizations in these categories so more description can be provided and a deeper understanding can be created. This is not going to be a perfect way to organize ourselves, and I am sure we will refine it over time. The focus and priority of these opportunities may change over time, so this will always be a “living document”. I am looking forward to this journey with all of you as we know, love and serve God together.