A 5-step, dreams-to-reality process for RCIA teams

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIAIn the first post in this series, we looked at the various ways in which we limit ourselves. We said there are three kinds of limits: personal, team, and parish. In the next post, we explored the secret for turning our limits in to opportunities. That process is: write down a positive goal. Now we’re going to walk through an example of turning a limit into an opportunity by writing down a goal. I’m choosing a team limit, but this will work with any limit you have set up for yourself.

1. Thank God

A common limit I hear expressed is there are not enough people volunteering to help on the team. I’m sure you have been praying about this, but I want to ask you to change your prayer a bit. Instead of praying for more team members, begin to thank God for the team members you already have—even if that is just you. God put you on this team because you are the exact person God called and gifted with the talents your parish needs right now. So start by offering praise.

2. Define the limits

Next write down all the tasks you need help with. Don’t focus on people yet. Focus on tasks. Break them down as small as possible. So, you don’t need a catechist to lead dismissal sessions and the extended catechetical sessions. You need help with:

  • Preparing the room where dismissal sessions will be held
  • Leading the catechumens out of the liturgy
  • Leading 52 dismissal sessions (that’s 52 separate tasks)
  • Preparing the room where extended catechesis will be held
  • Making or buying cookies and putting on coffee for the extended catechesis (times however many sessions you have in a year)
  • Leading a reflection on the readings during the extended catechesis (times however many sessions you have in a year)
  • Leading an extended catechesis that flows from the liturgy (times however many sessions you have in a year)

If you asked me to do all of that, I’d say no. If you asked me to do 6 of the 52 dismissal sessions (one every other month), I’d say yes. The key here is to think of finding people for smaller tasks rather than one large job description.

3. Write down a goal you believe will happen

Now, write down a specific, measurable goal. To do that, you need to make an estimate of the number of people you would need to fulfill all those tasks. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say 30 is the magic number. In your parish, you might find several people who would lead 12 or 24 dismissal sessions a year instead of 6. So you might need fewer than 30 people. The exact number is not important. What is important is writing down a specific, measurable goal. Here is an example of a positive goal statement—a dream you believe will come true:

With God’s help, St. Clementine parish has 30 active, committed parishioners contributing to the catechetical tasks of the catechumenate process by {insert date}.

4. Plan to reach your goal

Now make a plan for reaching your goal. You have to figure on getting about five no’s for every yes. So, if you want 30 yes’s, you need to ask about 150 people. How in the world are you going to come up with a list of 150 names? Well, if you’ve been in the parish for more than a few years, I’m guessing that you can come up with at least 50 with some concentrated thinking time. Make some copies of your list with 100 blank spaces and hand it out to parish staff members, committee chairs, and social butterflies. Ask them to suggest more names for you. Also, see this post for a list of different kinds of people in the parish you might consider asking.

The next part of your plan is to create an asking schedule. You can start asking before you have your list complete. You need to ask as many people a week as it will take for you to get 30 yes’s by your goal date. So, if your goal date is six months from now, you need to ask six to seven people a week in order to have spoken to 150 people by the goal date. If your goal date is three months from now, you need to ask 12 to 14 people a week. The exact number is not critical. What is important is to regularly ask enough people so that you get enough yes’s by the date you set for yourself.

5. Thank God

At the end of each day, remember to thank God for all the team members you have (even if that is only you) and all the team members God is preparing to send you.

If you already have plenty of team members, choose whatever it is that is limiting you, and adapt this process to bust through your limit. Once you’ve done that, you will be ready to supercharge your dreaming, goal setting process to accomplish something really significant. We’ll look at that next.

See also these related articles:

  1. What are your limits?
  2. Lesson from a VW Beetle: Turn your limits into opportunities
  3. A 5-step, dreams-to-reality process for RCIA teams
  4. Teach catechumens to dream big—by example
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