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HDYDI: Find Your Church Ministry

Finding your church ministry

That sounds a teeny bit presumptuous on my part, I think. I can say with absolute certainly I know how I found my place in our parish. But for you? I have zero idea on what’s best for you. Today I’ll share how I found my place, as a convert to Catholicism. The Catholic Church seemed somewhat intimidating – all these people said the same prayers and did funky gestures at weird times – and I wasn’t sure where I fit in at first.

Here’s how I found my way and I’m hoping it might inspire you to find your place, too.

Seventeen years ago when I joined the church, I knew enough about Catholicism to be dangerous. So, I figured the first place to start was scripture. The logical ministry was lector and so I signed myself up just two months after Scott and I married and we moved to Iowa. Fast forward 17 years and I’m still lectoring. Truly, it is my first love. It requires me to read the scriptures prior to Mass, fully understand them and feel confident in proclaiming them. I can tell you that many Sundays that was a struggle. But, it’s been through prayer and affirmation from my husband that I’ve continued. Piece of advice #1: identify how you need to grow spiritually and see what ministry can fill that need.

The years went along, we had children, moved to two more states and during that time I began to feel a pull toward youth. Youth ministry was instrumental during my time as a Protestant. It formed who I am today. That’s right, my Protestant churches made me a better Catholic because they encouraged me to ask the all important question: why? Our service to youth has come in many forms. First, Scott and I served as high school volunteer youth ministers. What a blast. That experience took us on two pilgrimages to Italy and had us lead three youth retreats for more than 600 teens! Then, I found myself moving from teens to younger religious education, like Vacation Bible School. Our family changed and so did my desire to serve the church. Piece of advice #2:  it’s okay to move on from a ministry and serve in a different capacity.

Early on in our engagement we were introduced to the sponsor couple ministry. We met with a married couple on five different occasions for a total of ten hours, learning about everything from communication to sex to finances. Their role was to model and share their experience and I must say, we had a rockstar Sponsor Couple. If you live in College Station and know the Barry’s, you know I speak the truth. Their example and honest witness inspired us to serve in the same capacity. Five years after we married, we began serving as a sponsor couple. Just this fall, we began working with our ninth couple. I’m happy to say that all nine couples are still married – woot! Piece of advice #3: find a ministry to do together with your spouse, big or small, just do it.

There have been many seasons of my life where I felt the need to serve in every aspect of parish life. And, more often, there have been times when I’ve sought out ministries that led me back to quiet time with God, like my stint as a perpetual Eucharistic adorer at our parish in Indiana. However, it was this advice from a dear friend that I have never forgotten. In fact, it is my very best piece of advice to impart. Piece of advice #4: sometimes the ministry you serve needs to be your own family.

In these many seasons of motherhood, I’ve learned one very valuable stewardship lesson. Are your ministries bringing you closer to God or further away from your family? When the latter overtakes the former, it’s time to take a look around and ask yourself who you’re serving. Yourself or God? Don’t kid yourself, we all do it {hands waving}.

As you find your place in your own church, I pray it’s a fruitful journey – spiritually, relationally, socially and intellectually.

Blog ButtonFor more HDYDI posts, visit my How I Do It Page.

 

9 Comments

  1. verdinalouisa on September 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just in time for the Ministry Fair at SMG!

  2. Julie on September 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you for this! A year ago we bought our “forever” house, and a few months later, we settled on a parish. (We have zero parishes within 15 minutes of us; 5 within 20.) I joined the music ministry right off the bat, but haven’t yet figured out what else I should be doing in the parish. Your advice is helpful!

  3. Erin Pascal on September 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve had my own share of church work too and yes I’ve encountered some confusion as the what ministry should I participate in. I actually started with catechism for the kids. I love children! and then I went on to the youth. It was a lot of fun. But then I lost touch of my previous parish and ministry because I got married and moved to another place. Now I am thinking of becoming a lector but I worry about not being able to fit in the new parish that I belong to.

    • Kathryn on September 3, 2013 at 6:49 am

      Erin, I think that is a universal worry. We crave the comfortable and when we’re thrown into the unknown it gets a little scary. Dive into a ministry and see what doors God opens. You can always change ministries!

  4. Joel Whitaker on September 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Kathryn,
    This is a great post, and I’m going to use it in my RCIA class.
    BTW, that is an absolutly great picture of you.
    Joel

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