Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Online Toolkits

One of the beauties of our information age with social media and the Internet is that so much sharing can take place. Now, often this amounts to just so much noise, but for the person with discernment (and some patience) there is rich soil to draw good fruit from. Each person, I think, has their own cyberspace - crafted out of their interests and online responsibilities. For me, I have been blessed to share in a few resource forums that have helped shape my present ministry, and from which I draw much inspiration.

One of these is a Facebook forum centered on Sherry Weddell's Forming Intentional Disciples. This book is currently "hot stuff" among Catholic evangelizers, and it is truly helping to re-energize our efforts, particularly at the parish level, of sharing the message of Jesus' saving love. Sherry's wonderful book looks at the issue (problem?) of "cultural Catholicism" versus "intentional discipleship," wherein we have become complacent in our faith, accepting the label of Catholic but doing very little to live and share that life-giving faith. I highly recommend to pastors and pastoral leaders - or anyone, for that matter - that they read the book.

The other resource that I have grow a lot from reading has been the Disney Institutes's blog. Yes, I know, I tend to overdo the Disney thing, and I am unapologetic in that regard; but the Disney Institute has established a model for training people in leadership and service that is truly unrivaled. Developing the skills of administrators as well as those who serve under them is the main goal. A recent post illustrates this. Leadership is not something that needs to be hoarded or guarded amongst a few. It can be fostered in all employees, volunteers, staff, leadership, ministers, etc. And, this is a good thing!

Many times, when given a leadership position, there is the temptation to assert that authority, rather than to gratefully accept the responsibility of shepherding. This is something that is useful particularly in the Church. When confronted with the "problem" of "stray prophesiers," Moses rebuked Joshua, telling him, "If only all the people of the Lord were prophets! If only the Lord would bestow His Spirit on them!" (Num 11:29). This should be the prayer of a leader in the Church - a prayer for the gift of the Spirit to be stirred up in all our people.

There are many resources, as I have said, to this end. Weddell's book is a fantastic start. Michael White and Tom Corcoran's Rebuilt is another, as is Matthew Kelly's Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Try assembling your own resources in your "Bookmarks" online. The Internet has much more to offer than cat videos!

No comments: