Discipleship Plan. Submitted by: Discipleship Council. February 29, /29/2016 1

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1 Discipleship Plan Submitted by: Discipleship Council February 29, /29/2016 1

2 St. Philip Discipleship Plan Table of Contents Purpose... 3 Goal...4 Mission & Motto...4 Definitions...4 Elements...5 Benchmarks...6 Foundation for the Plan...6 Expectations...7 The Plan...8 Anticipated Challenges...10 Communication Plan...10 Addenda...11 Spiritual (Action) Plan Matrixes /29/2016 2

3 PURPOSE The purpose of this Discipleship Plan is to Provide St. Philip Catholic Church a vehicle for her Spiritual Growth through: Formation of Intentional Disciples Evangelizing by sharing the faith Why do we need a Plan? Because Jesus told us go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt 28: 19-20) and because Vatican Council II and all our recent Popes have been calling us to share the Gospel with greater intensity for it is the very DNA of our faith to give our love for Jesus away to others. How we got here? Fr. Bala, our Pastor, looking for an over-arching parish roadmap, founded a Book of the Month Club that led to a study on discipleship. This in turn moved our Pastor to commission the Parish Discipleship Council to come up with a Spiritual Action Plan, which fulfilled Vatican II Council s dream that we might all live more intensely with Jesus so that we might want to give Him to others. Discipleship Council The Council was commissioned to develop and promote a spiritual (action) plan utilizing Word, Worship, Community and Service to assist St. Philip parishioners in their journey to follow Jesus Christ. It s focus is to simply infuse a sense of what it means to be an intentional and committed disciple to the whole community of St. Philip parish thru education, preaching, teaching and encouraging all to open their hearts to Jesus in prayer and urging all the parish ministries to paint pictures for their members of what it means to be an intentional disciple. It is not about changing anything the parish already does in its members but rather infusing a sense of Discipleship into everything the parish does so that all its activities are open to living out the dynamic of evangelization or sharing of the love of Christ we have in our hearts with others. 02/29/2016 3

4 GOAL (of the Plan) To assist in the Growing of an Engaged Church as measured by the percentage of parishioners who are involved (maybe by using the Gallup Organization). Helping our community to remember that an engaged parish is: spiritually healthy, attracts new people, funds new adventures, and accomplishes the mission and (proposed) vision more effectively. Mission: We the people of St. Philip Catholic Church, as disciples of Jesus Christ, joyfully celebrate the Eucharist and share and proclaim the Word of God with our neighbors. Motto: When we fall in love with Jesus, we give His love away. The Mission and Motto need to be incorporated into the fabric of our parish life memorized and displayed on banners, posters, bulletin, website and correspondence from the parish. It s what our Parish wants to be: An engaged community sharing our love for Jesus in all we do in service for others, drawing them to the Kingdom of God. DEFINITIONS: Mission Defines the present state and purpose of the Church as an organized community while answering three questions: WHAT it does; WHO it does it for; and HOW it does what it does. Motto - a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution. Charisms or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to Christians by the Holy Spirit to enable them to be powerful channels of God s love and redeeming presence in the world. Conversion implies a new way of relating to God in such a way that one also relates to other people. Conversion is a matter of living justly, reaching out to all and sharing with them all that one has. Disciple one who has encountered Jesus personally and journeys with him thru life in prayer, ongoing faith formation, generosity of spirit and sharing the faith with others - - not so much doing more but rather 02/29/2016 4

5 being more like the Lord in all aspects of living, i.e. work, family, joys, sorrows and ministry. Evangelization the process of bringing the Good News of Jesus (including His passion, death and Resurrection) into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. Spirituality is life in Christ and in the Spirit, which is accepted in faith, expressed in love and inspired by hope, and so becomes the daily life of the Church community. ELEMENTS (needed to carry out the Plan): Prayer Warriors - those who ask the Lord to break down the walls of silence preventing parishioners from talking openly about their faith. They are formed in groups of 10, with a leader to guide them on their faith journey. Repentance Jesus said: Repent, and believe in the Gospel. (Mark 1:15). Daily asking God to pardon our sins and putting ourselves regularly in the merciful hands of Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are emboldened to live the Gospel with joy and a light heart. Learning constantly from our present day prophet(s) who show us how to form and be formed as disciples, who then evangelize Experiences leading to dropping your net and following Jesus 1. Trust some link to Christianity 2. Curiosity desiring to know more about Jesus or faith 3. Openness Admitting a readiness or need to change 4. Seeking Asking Are you the one, Jesus? 5. Being an Intentional Disciple or finally, like the apostles, dropping your net and following Jesus. Constitutive elements of Catholic formation: Word Proclaim Christ (the Word) encompasses our ongoing formation and maturation in faith, the goal of which is to deepen our love for and knowledge of Christ so that like the Apostles and disciples we are inspired to share the Good News with others Worship - encompasses the spiritual life of a community, which serves to build up the Body of Christ through personal and communal prayer. 02/29/2016 5

6 Through the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, liturgies, sacraments, and devotions we proclaim our faith and carry out the mission of evangelization by giving public witness to the Gospel Community - we form one Church (including our parish St. Philips ), one people, united by the Father, Son and Spirit. As one body we are called upon to support, celebrate, and nurture each other. As a parish community we are called upon to engender a sense of belonging emboldened by our modeling inclusivity and mutuality. Fostering Christian community is the natural outcome of parish life Service - encompasses our natural response to living the Gospel message. We cannot come to know Christ without being forever changed. Through our conversion we are called upon to be of service to others, for God has no hands but our own. We cannot be honor to the Gospel message of Christ Jesus without being servants to others, or willing to share our faith with them. Goals of Go And Make Disciples (NCCB, 1993) Enthusiasm to bring about in all Catholics such an enthusiasm for their faith that, in living their faith in Jesus, they freely share it with others Invitation - To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic faith Transformation -To foster Gospel values in our society, promoting the dignity of the human person, the importance of the family, and the common good of our society, so that our nation may continue to be transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ. BENCHMARKS (fact-finding) - are a measure of progress taken at intervals toward meeting or complying with an objective or a standard. Examples include: Number of Parishioners; Volunteers Number households use envelopes How many intentional disciples? How many more formed for next year; 2016; 2017; etc FOUNDATIONS for the Plan Since our level of involvement is not keeping pace with our growth, we need this plan for our future as a parish and we have never had a plan for Spiritual growth 02/29/2016 6

7 that leads to confidence in speaking of, and proclaiming the Faith in various areas of our everyday living. We need to remember that global statistics show one in three Catholics are no longer connected to the Catholic Church and St. Philip s has a significant number of registered yet disconnected parishioners and we need to make a distinction between a degree of involvement and being wholly engaged. Culturally, we may spend time fitting Church into our lives fitting it to where we want to be, however, engagement requires a dedication to discipleship that helps us understand where God wants us to be and so we need to go from doing Church to Being Church and from maintenance to mission. EXPECTATIONS: WORD, WORSHIP, COMMUNITY & SERVICE. These four elements provide an unequivocal statement of what it means to be a parishioner at St. Philips : members need to know what is expected of them so they can develop a strong sense of belonging to the congregation (CS Cor. 3: 4-6) Spiritual Roadmap to Intentional Discipleship at St. Philip Catholic Church Launch a Discipleship Council Ensure that the Mission & Vision Statement(s) are on website & in the bulletin and are clear and concise (can be memorized) Consistent homilies on Discipleship (every month a new theme) Good practices to daily Discipleship: o Word proclaim Christ (the Word), learn about the Faith and/or pursue holiness thru Retreats, book clubs, bible reflection, or small groups o Worship structured and personal prayer at consistent times o Community our parish, St. Philips, proclaims the Word of God with our neighbors o Service serving and sharing our faith with others through our various parish ministries and events (Evangelization) Intentions every Mass on behalf of Discipleship Link the concept of intentional discipleship as well as our charisms to our ministries Parish continues to give assistance in discerning parishioners charisms Monthly Book clubs studying various aspects of discipleship Small groups encouraged and formed (6 or so to a group) throughout our Parish to give parishioners an opportunity to be accompanied on their faith journey 02/29/2016 7

8 THE PLAN (the heart of it) The Plan consists of four parts: WORD, WORSHIP, COMMUNITY & SERVICE WORD Expectation St. Philip parish will transmit faith in a systematic manner Opportunities to learn about ourselves, our faith and ways to share our gifts and insights with others are provided Spend time everyday learning about our faith so that we might know Jesus more profoundly and share our faith with others more articulately. Even on a hectic day, one can use the internet to check out an item on faith. Actions To create a parish that constantly: o Urges parishioners to grow in faith and discipleship o Presents opportunities for faith formation o Calls parishioners to use their charisms and talents on behalf of God s Kingdom o Assists households to plan personal and family time in prayer and spiritual development o Implement both a Spirituality assessment and a Conversion journey o Calls on the clergy to aid the community in the development and knowledge of their faith o Assists in the development of effective leadership o Prepares people to be excited and confident in their ability to share what they have learned with others. o Forms witnesses to the Gospel, draws parishioners into active parish life and calls her members to repentance that they might be faithful to the teachings of Christ. WORSHIP Expectation: St. Philip Parish will provide opportunities to celebrate God s love in the sacraments and vibrant liturgy Assist all to fully engage in a daily prayer life 02/29/2016 8

9 Actions: To create a worship celebration that is: o Centered in the Eucharist o A priority in the lives of our parish members o Uplifting by the quality of the preaching and/or music o Relevant to all age groups To create opportunities to teach parishioners how meditate/contemplate in prayer To share with parishioners devotions and prayer styles both familiar and unfamiliar To reveal examples of how to structure a daily prayer life. COMMUNITY Expectation St. Philip parish will love and accept you as you are, with care and compassion, and help you grow closer to Christ Fully strive to see Christ in others and live the Gospel thru a life of gratitude and generosity Actions To create a parish environment and personality that encourages: o A public image of hospitality, invitation and compassion where no one is excluded o Inactive, alienated and the un-churched to return home o Small groups to gather and share faith as it relates to their everyday lives. o Opportunities for social engagement o Blending in the Hispanic Community thru Bi-lingual Mass and integrating ministries o Parish members and organizations to assist individuals to find opportunities to use their charisms, talents and strengths in service to others o Collaboration with neighboring parishes and churches to enhance the mission Christ gave us o Giving and service to those in need in the parish, local community, nations and the world o Continued and enhanced service to the sick, bereaved, homebound, imprisoned, and others unable to worship with us 02/29/2016 9

10 o All members to be always alert to answer questions and ac company those looking for the Kingdom of God o Teaching all how to recognize signs of impending faith in others and then: How to draw them to the community RCIA Sacraments Accompanying on faith journey. SERVICE Expectation St. Philip parish will act as a responsible steward of all gifts and promote one s service to others thru support of various ministries. Use our God-given charisms and gifts in service to others. Actions To create a Christian community that: o Recognizes all giftedness and seeks opportunities that allow sharing of God-given gifts. o Responds to the needs of the members, the parish as a whole, the larger community, the diocese and the world o Develops ministries both internally and externally focused o Focuses on helping members find their fit in the ministries so they may actively serve others o Is open to parishioners creating new ministries that meet needs never contemplated in the past o Uses justice and outreach to influence the values and decisions of the community o Communicates regularly and fosters a good spirit of working together as a community ANTICIPATED CHALLENGES: Overcoming the feeling and belief that there is no need to shift our holding of Christ s great commission (going from maintenance to mission) Slowly drawing people out of their comfort zone The person in the pew is inundated with hundreds of ideas and opportunitiesin ministries, bible studies, Books of the Month, special Masses- they may be unable to participate given their time restraints 02/29/

11 Parishioners, even those in good faith, appear to be overwhelmed, confused, fatigued and feeling guilty that they are not the right stuff Consumeristic mentality distracting us from living in Christ reminding us of a need to repent Keeping Ministry leadership on its toes Changing hearts and minds to embrace newcomers Logistics in meeting the demand for instruction/participation COMMUNICATION: Needed to carry out The Plan Assign leaders and participants Establishing timelines as needed. Evaluate effectiveness of Actions taken & Celebrate achievements Creating multiple venues for communicating results FOLLOW-UP Plan implementation follow up is of utmost importantance. Discipleship Council needs to have a little more structure of the meetings (perhaps having a more extensive agenda) This agenda should have among other parts an old and new business section to frequently follow up on the activities of the plan and validate how we are doing. Addenda: 1. A Constant Reminder We can easily lose ourselves in doing church (getting caught up in activity for the sake of activity) rather than Being Church which builds relationships and nurtures parishioners so they are spiritually alive and willing to serve others and draw the fallen away and the outcast and the curious back to or into the Faith. Everything a parishioner does must be done out of the context of proclaiming our loving God to our neighbor and the world. The Key for ourselves remaining alive in the faithrelationship we have with the Jesus is Prayer, Engagement, and Repentance. 2. Nota Bene The parish adds or subtracts details from the PLAN as needed and works out on each element of the plan and this plan basically does not change anything. It only seeks to infuse the spirit of intentional discipleship into all parish life and activities 02/29/

12 3. Handbook We need to think about preparing a handbook to assist a parishioner in keeping alive their consciousness on being an intentional disciple 4. Papal call for YEAR of MERCY We need to incorporate the Papal call to celebrate a Year of Mercy (Dec to Nov. 2016) into the 2016 Plan 5. Good Practices: A Review your progress in meeting these good practices (Word, Worship, Community, and Service) every day before retiring- see how you did, pray for future success and you will weave these practices into the fabric of your life. B - Carry the practices in your wallet or purse--looking at them every day and eventually memorizing them 6. Our Resources Acknowledged Sherry Weddell: o Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus o Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples Prince of Peace Catholic Church (Flowery Branch, GA) Plan outline St. Dominic s Catholic Church (San Francisco, CA) Intentional Discipleship education St. Ludmila Catholic Church (Cedar Rapids, IA) Discipleship Covenant Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Richmond VA. o We ve Come this Far by Faith March 2005 (revised) o We Walk By Faith September /29/

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