- Many years ago, when I was doing youth work, we planned a big event. We hired a large auditorium, sound and lighting equipment and spent a huge amount of time getting ready and were very excited about the event. When the night came, very few people turned up. We were very disappointed, but it was only when we evaluated what happened we realized we hadn’t told people in a way they could hear about what we were doing and that it was on.
- A little while ago, I was in Ohio meeting with a parish priest who said to me that they had held an outreach event the day before hoping non-church attenders would attend. He was very excited when he told me 300 people had attended. I asked him how many non-church attending people came. He paused and said, “Not one. They were all Church attenders.” He then said how do you find people who don’t go to Church today? He finished by saying it is so hard reaching people who do not go to Church.
The sad truth is on the whole most well-meaning Catholic’s outreach ministry is to people who already go to Church that is people who are in the ‘Church Bubble.’ The Parish Priest is right, it is very hard, but this is where we believe we are called to work.
The following will outline part of our approach to reaching beyond the ‘bubble’ of Church. It is complex and difficult to grasp because when you think you fully understand it, the goal posts move. It is mostly about a way of thinking that expresses itself in action.
Knowing that we are currently planning Television and Media, Events, Impact Live Outreach Services, Online Seasonal Campaigns and Location Outreach Communities, I want to address our approach and ‘remind’ our veteran team members who we are and to provide ‘formation’ to new people who are joining us in this calling.
It is critical to remember and to know that we are a people/community/ministry who operate according to our ‘Documents’ that define who we are and what we are doing. Many years have gone into discerning and developing them.
How we reach beyond the ‘bubble’ has taken us years to learn how to do. Many tears and sleepless nights from the disappointment of failure or the frustration of simply not knowing how to do this has brought us to where we are today. Remember every time we have failed, we failed at bringing someone to the fullness of life in Christ. This is serious.
What is to follow is our process of reaching beyond the bubble, but it is not the only way of doing it. In many ways it is one of the secrets behind our ministry.
BEFORE WE BEGIN
Let me side-track for one moment before we begin discussing ‘How We Reach Beyond the Bubble of Church.’
Those of you who are new to our ministry might ask why are we so open about what we are doing, the years of research we have done and the learnings from our failures and times of victory? Are we not fearful that others may copy it?
When you have questions like this go to our ‘Documents’ as they address these questions.
The Proclamation Community I See Document says;
I see The Catholic Guy Proclamation Community impacting the Church throughout the world, with a means that can be taught, to reach people who once were involved in Church through its people, activities, resources and methods. (I wrote this 15 years ago).
Our Twelve Commitments Document says:
We are committed to promoting other evangelistic ministries engaged
in the proclamation of the Gospel and supporting them in their mission.
If we can help others reach those disconnected from the Church from who we have reached, then we are fulfilling the Mission of our ministry. We do not have to be the only one doing it. Luke records Jesus’ answer to this very question;