"The rapidly changing cultural situation in which we find ourselves requires that we think in new and creative ways. We need to be willing to jettison some old structures that no longer work and to experiment with new ones. As St. Paul tried different missionary strategies in different settings (cf. 1 Cor 9:19-23), so we need to be innovative, flexible, adaptable, unafraid to make mistakes, and willing to learn from the good ideas of others." - Unleash the Gospel Marker 3.4, Archbishop Vigneron
What is the Mission Direct Area of Engagement?
The Mission Direct area of Engagement is the newest and most innovative area of the Mission Direct structure and is a critical component to transforming parishes from being inward and maintenance-focused to being outward and mission-focused. This Mission Direct area is responsible for the pre-evangelization and evangelization efforts of the Family of Parishes, as well as equipping parishioners to be sent forth to bring the Gospel into the world. Engagement includes the following ministries:
- Ministry Placement
As you develop and grow these ministries in your Family of Parishes, be sure to explore these links for strategies and resources:
- Communications Ministry Resources
- Evangelization in Families of Parishes
- Ecumenism in Families of Parishes Resources
- Ecumenical Resources
- Ministry Placement in Families of Parishes
- How Engagement, Family Ministry, and Discipleship Formation Will Evangelize Together in Families of Parishes
- How Hospitality Serves as a Gateway to Parish Life
- Hospitality Handbook
Aligning Engagement with the Detroit Model of Evangelization
The Mission Direct area of Engagement is primarily focused on three of the four stages of the Detroit Model of Evangelization (Attract, Encounter, and Witness) while the Mission Direct area of Discipleship Formation primarily focuses on the Grow stage. Engagement plays a key role in inviting individuals to a path of discipleship and empowering them to disciple others.
The combined efforts of Communications and Evangelization attract and engage new people to our parishes. Thoughtful social media content and shallow entry activities are a perfect way to welcome newcomers, those who have drifted away, or those who grew up with no faith at all. Hospitality Ministers welcome newcomers, follow up with them after events, and invite them to take the next step in their faith.
Once we get people in the door, the next step is to help them encounter Christ. Evangelization ministries are key in accomplishing this goal. Whether it is through simple one-on-one conversations, small group ministry, or programs such as Alpha, the goal is to create an environment where people can have honest discussion, ask questions, meet Jesus, and make a commitment to follow him as a disciple.
The goal of this stage is to empower and send forth newly formed disciples on mission. The role of Ministry Placement is to equip disciples to bring others to Christ. Through ecumenical efforts, Families of Parishes also witness their faith by forming relationships with leaders of other Christian communities in the geographical area, looking for opportunities to pray together and collaborate on common goals.
Communications Ministry is the glue that connects all these ministries together and facilitates communication with those engaged or seeking engagement with the Family of Parishes and tracks their engagement in events and activities once they enter the faith community.
Take it To the Next Level
To be successful in the Mission Direct area of Engagement, parish leaders are challenged to:
- Structure the ministries across the Family of Parishes to provide a clear path to discipleship.
- Ensure that processes and procedures are established so that ministries work in concert with one another and collaborate to their full potential.
Here are some practical ways to engage individuals within your parishes and beyond:
- Offer seasonal low-threshold activities to attract and invite new families into your Family of Parishes.
- Create a social media content strategy that offers hope and prayerful encouragement for relevant topics and ways to engage with the Family of Parishes.
- Offer evangelization opportunities (i.e., Alpha, ChristLife, The Search, The 99, etc.) several times per year at various parish sites.
- Train a team of evangelizers to engage individuals at liturgies, events, and the greater community.
- Offer Eucharistic Adoration, retreats, and healing prayer regularly.
- Train your staff and volunteers in radical hospitality and begin encouraging and forming the faithful to do the same.
- Track newcomers through media, event registration, sign-in sheets, or guest books.
- Follow-up with each newcomer with a phone call and two emails inviting them to an upcoming event. Have someone at the event to greet them personally and connect them with others in the community.
- Use weekly staff/leadership team meetings to identify newcomers to your Family of Parishes, discuss their needs, and identify who will follow up with them.
- Advertise RCIA and connect newcomers and those in evangelization courses as appropriate.
- Invite individuals to share personal testimonies before or after Mass or through your digital platform.
- Offer workshops on spiritual gifts discernment, helping participants discover their gifts and how God is calling them to serve.
- Offer workshops on sharing your faith with others.
- Regularly encourage the faithful to invite friends and neighbors to events and activities in the faith community.
- Reach out to Christian communities within your geographic area for fellowship and prayer.
For support for ministries within the Mission Direct area of Engagement contact:
Associate Director of Engagement and Family Ministries
Support for Directors of Engagement and Evangelization
Associate Director of Strategy
Support for Communications
Coordinator of RCIA and Hospitality Ministries
Support for RCIA and Hospitality
Coordinator of Young Adult and Campus Ministry
Support for Engaging and Ministering to Young Adults
Coordinator of Ministry Placement and Family Ministry
Support for Ministry Placement and Engaging Families
Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue
Support for Ecumenism