Every RCIA team member is a leader. Catholics are not always comfortable in the role of leader, and we tend to defer to others. We say things like, “I’m just a member of the group. Louise is the leader.” Maybe Louise is the leader. But you are also a leader, or you wouldn’t be on the team. The inquirers and catechumens are looking to you for leadership. Don’t disappoint them. Here is a leadership checklist that any RCIA team member can use.
✓Am I friendly?
We all think we’re friendly, but usually we focus on being friendly with our friends. This makes sense. However, it is also detrimental to good leadership. Find the stranger, the quiet person, the shy person, the unhappy person, and strike up a conversation. Do this every day. Keep track. How many strangers did you talk to today? How many will you engage tomorrow?
✓Am I smiling?
Many Catholics do not smile. I have no idea why this is, but it’s true. Look around church next Sunday, and ask yourself if people are smiling. Then ask yourself if you are smiling. Smiling may not seem like a leadership skill, but it is. Are you more likely to be attracted to a smile or a frown? The inquirers and catechumens feel the same way, so smile more.
✓Am I complaining?
Everyone loves to complain, and that’s a habit we have to break. Complain in private, if you must, but not in public. If you find yourself in a negative mood or a negative situation, pray for the Holy Spirit to show you a light. Find something to celebrate about that moment. No one likes to follow a complainer.
✓Am I uplifting?
One of my big faults is that I constantly want people to notice my accomplishments, no matter how small. And you know what? Most other people want the same thing. So instead of trying to get your accomplishments noticed, focus instead on other people’s. Be encouraging. Be generous. Praise small steps and give lots of pats on backs.
✓Am I resisting change?
This is huge. Every leader, no matter how far down on the leadership ladder, must be a change agent. I know this is hard. I hate change too. But it’s absolutely necessary. We tell the catechumens all the time that they have to be open to conversion. If we say it, but don’t live it, how likely is it that the catechumens will follow our words instead of our example?
✓Am I confident?
Confidence is attractive. Think of the leaders in your life. How much more excited are you about following a confident leader versus an ambivalent one? There are a few things that sap our confidence. We might be disorganized, under-trained, uninformed, or afraid of making a mistake. Here is the solution to all of these confidence breakers: take a risk. Just a little one. Risk something that is one inch outside your comfort zone. Then repeat. Soon, your confidence will skyrocket.
✓Am I delegating?
Here is a very common scenario in church ministry. I have a task I dislike or that bores me. And, because I am a Christian person, I feel it is my duty to sacrifice myself for others and keep doing that task. But the truth is, someone else would love to do that task (or at least not hate it as much as you do). Find someone with a gift for doing the things you are not gifted at. Good leaders delegate.
What can you add?
There are probably a dozen more things I could add to the checklist, but this is enough to get started. What would you add to your personal checklist? What are the behaviors of a good RCIA leader? Please share your thoughts below.