The Holy Spirit does not call people to discipleship only from September to May. The call is constant, and hearts of seekers are moved to respond every hour that Christians are awake and living in the world. We know that is true because we are the presence of Christ. And when Christ is present, people are changed.
So what stops us from assisting seekers in answering the call of the Spirit when that call happens outside our faith formation schedule?
I hear lots of reasons. Our team is too small. We don’t have the resources. We don’t have space. We don’t want to burn out the team. The pastor won’t let us. Seekers want to get finished quickly.
However, I don’t believe any of these are the core reason. They are the reasons we give because the real reason is too scary to think about.
Does your RCIA have a limited scope for the power of the Holy Spirit?
If any of these roadblocks were true, imagine what that says about the power of the Holy Spirit. In at least one of your RCIA sessions, you are probably teaching about the Holy Spirit. And one of those teachings is that that Holy Spirit is a giver of gifts. And not just any gifts, but the exact gifts each of us needs to fulfill the mission we have been called to.
Yet, we say to ourselves that our gifts are limited. We say to each other that we do not have the gifts we need (larger team, more resources, more energy, a different pastor, etc.) to help seekers become disciples whenever the Spirit calls them. We say to the Holy Spirit we’re not quite sure we believe in God’s unlimited power.
Still, even these fears are not the core fear. What we are afraid of—what I’m afraid of—is we don’t have what it takes. I usually think I’m stretched to my limit as it is. If God (or the pastor or some “expert”) asks one more thing of me, I may just lose it.
To say that, to even think that, requires a huge amount of vulnerability. I’m not good with vulnerability. I don’t think most of us are. But here’s what’s true. The number-one thing we are asking of the seekers is to be vulnerable. We are asking them to let go of their old lives and begin to live a new life in Christ. We are asking them to trust. We are asking them to change.
We will have more credibility with our seekers if they witness in us a willingness to be vulnerable.
Don’t get too comfortable with your RCIA process
When I get stuck in a comfortable way of doing things, even when I know the Spirit is asking me to change, I pray. I don’t pray well. I don’t pray in poetic verse. I don’t pray anything profound. I pray like a three-year-old who doesn’t want to take a nap.
Something like: “Okay, God, I know I should. But I don’t want to. I’m not going to. And I know you’re not going to make me. But I will make this one small concession. If it is your will, make me want to. So now it’s up to you. I prayed.”
Like I said, not pretty. You probably have a better prayer. But miracle after miracle in my life has shown me this is all the invitation God needs to change a hard heart.
Right this minute, the Holy Spirit is calling someone to discipleship who will show up in our life at exactly the time we think we are least prepared to assist them. That’s true. That’s never going to change. So we have to change instead. Are we vulnerable enough to ask for God’s help?
How is the Holy Spirit challenging you and your RCIA process? What’s one step that you can take today to be open to the work of the Spirit? Share your thoughts in the comments below.