Characteristics of an Evangelizing Parish

These two excerpts are from the Boston College, Church 21 Resources program from an article published in the Spring 2010 edition – Characteristics of an Evangelizing Parish by Jane Regan.

The call to the local parish to participate in the Church’s mission of evangelization requires that it be a place where adult faith is fostered and strengthened. This means that the parish serves as the context where adults are welcomed, challenged, and directed in their faith journey.

Deepening our attention to adult faith formation is not about adding more programs. Rather, we are challenged to recognize the way in which the very life of the parish contributes to maturing adult faith and enhances an evangelizing spirit.

These quotes go to the heart of the issue.

  1. The primary mission of the local parish is evangelization.
  2. Evangelization begins with welcoming those already present in the parish and not involved as well as those who are new to the parish.
  3. Evangelizing means getting involved and growing in faith and spirit.
  4. Growing the church is never achieved by new programs, but by changing the way the parish fulfills the mission of the parish in all its ministries.

Jane Regan lists the describes the evangelizing parish as a place where adults are “welcomed, challenged, and directed in their faith journey.” These characteristics are needed to move the parish in the direction of fulfilling the mission, and a more specific approach is needed. A parish successfully evangelizes when it:

  • Centers parish spiritual growth and engaged parishioner growth as the primary mission of the parish
  • Develops Lifestyle Ministries to add spiritual content to daily life of parishioners
  • Includes spiritual content in all Parish ministry and faith group meetings
  • Empowers ministry leaders with faith-building leadership skills
  • Aligns all parish ministries with the parish mission
  • Catechizes leaders and then all parishioners into the full theology of being an Evangelizing Parish

There is not a quick fix or the work of a separate committee or commission. It is only when “adult faith is fostered and strengthened” that the parish will grow. It becomes the work of the parish that is achieved by concrete action and is measured by actual results. It has begun in places like Our Lady of Soledad and the Archdiocese of Boston. The mission of this blog is to begin and maintain a dialog of evangelizing actions and successes in parishes and diocese.

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