instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who you calling a baby?

Here's something I didn't like about Fr. White's approach to parish life as described in Rebuilt , but it could just be me: One of their goals is, "Every Member a Minister."

Now, with the number of ministerial teams the Church of the Nativity has -- from parking to welcoming to running the cafe to running the light board -- it's not as though they're trying to crowd everyone around the altar But the explicit expectation is that a properly formed parishioner serves the parish:
If people are only being served, they're consumers; if they're working, they're ministers....
Just like a family, the only people who don't help out are the babies. Christians who don't serve their church are, at best, baby disciples.
I don't buy it. I don't buy the need for a swarm of ministers around a church during Mass, I don't buy the title inflation of calling every service to a parish a "ministry," and I don't buy that every individual Christian is called to serve in their parish.

I got a similar impression while reading Forming Intentional Disciples last summer, that somehow crossing the threshold of intentional discipleship meant signing up at the parish office as a catechist. Sherry Weddell assured me -- with copious examples from the book -- that I was mistaken, and she'd know as well as anyone alive that not everyone's charism is intended to be exercised in the context of a parish.

Still, I'm not sure everyone sees it that way, and Rebuilt is by no means the only place I've encountered this presumption.