By Jolinda Moore, executive director of stewardship and development for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Change is hard.
Over the weekend I asked my 14-year old to sit with me to discuss her high school schedule. She froze saying, “I don’t want to think about it. It is going to be different and difficult. The thought is overwhelming.”
Even when I shared that this was her opportunity to discern which electives best aligned with her interests, there was still hesitation and a reaction of, “What if I pick the wrong classes? What if I don’t like them or I’m not good at them?”
Change is hard for kids.
It’s not much different for us adults. We think we know the right direction. We have spent time in prayer discerning the next steps, but we are often held back just by the thought of change. We fear failure, lack of control, unintended consequences and the ever so real concern of change equating to more work.
Change is hard for adults.
To a religious organization like the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, change is no different. It is hard, but necessary. Through Lilly Endowment the archdiocese has been able to embrace change through an initiative called Empowering Pastoral Leaders for Excellence in Parish Leadership and Management in which we have been afforded the opportunity to offer Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity (CCCG).
It was the desire of the archdiocese to offer this component of training as a tool to assist pastors in their ability to articulate a spirituality and theology of mission, money, and generosity to their parishioners.
The need for training was necessary as earlier studies indicated that 40 percent of Catholic pastors were uncomfortable talking about money in a spiritual context with their congregation; further impacted by 44 percent of Catholic pastors feeling that members of their congregations were uncomfortable talking or hearing about money in a spiritual context.
The biggest barrier of participating in CCCG was the time commitment. The pastor and a team of four to six committed volunteers were expected to attend three Saturday meetings and take action between the meetings. This was going to be a considerable amount of work.
Some felt that the meeting topic was very broad, wondering how this would differ from the projects already underway to focus on stewardship. They did not want to stop current efforts to address a new program.
For the first offering of CCCG, three parishes stepped forward. They committed as a way to reflect on stewardship and engage parishioners in living out their call to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Those participating had a good working knowledge of the word “stewardship,” but they questioned how to engage leadership in matters of money and how to present the fiscal needs to the parish. They were seeking clarity on how to get the Stewardship Committee and the Finance Council to speak the same language.
Change should be intentional.
“Energizing,” “high caliber,” “practical,” and “freeing” were words used to describe CCCG. One participant stating, “The time in CCCG allowed me to reflect on the belief that everything I have belongs to God. It is my job to manage the things entrusted to me.”
“The biggest regret that I have is that I was not doing this 15 years ago. I found the joy of making a request,” said a pastor participating in CCCG.
This statement alone assured us that change is good. We need to be intentional and willing to accept change as we look for ways to connect with our parishioners in their faith journey.
Be brave and seek change.
Jolinda has participated in the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) and Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity (CCCG) from Lake Institute on Faith and Giving. She is committed to growing a Culture of Stewardship and Generosity and feels that there is true ministry in the act of giving.