From Maintenance to Mission
I have a dream. I dream of a ‘missionary Church', so that all her structures can be used
for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her own self-preservation.
Evangelii Gaudium, 27 (On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s Word), Pope Francis, 2013.
We are a missionary Church. Instead of simply maintaining buildings and meeting the needs of our parishioners, our parishes are called to go further and to embrace their mission, the original mission of Christ and the apostles of making disciples – missionary disciples.
It is not difficult to see the challenges facing our church today and now more than ever we must be looking intentionally outward.
Divine Renovation, a book on parish transformation, authored by Fr James Mallon, outlines a set of principles and actions, offering a blueprint, a strategy, for changing a parish from one of maintenance, to one of mission. These principles include, changing culture, building vision, reaching out to those, forming disciples and implementing intentional leadership and ministry. Bishops Stephen and Michael believe that these principles support the implementation of the diocesan Mission Map and encourage parishes and individuals to find out more about them.
Fr James Mallon, is a Jesuit Parish Priest, formally in Yarmouth Halifax, provides inspiration for priests, pastors and parishes alike, bringing alive the difficulties we have in the present-day church and communities and through prayer, scripture and teaching, draws out of his heart and experience these principles that have transformed his parish into a younger, more dynamic and mission focused parish, bringing a more vibrant life into the church and ministry to the community around it. This video introduces Fr James and introduces Divine Renovation.
To ensure that we are living in a spirit of incarnational missionary engagement, we must wrestle with a fundamental question: Are we more attached to our model or to our mission? This is the most important question we can ask at all levels of Church life-parish, diocesan, and universal. What is most important to us? Our model-that is, our customs, structures, habits, methodologies, and schedules-or our mission, the salvation of the world? If we want to bear fruit, we must become a Church that is willing to change its model in order to dwell fruitfully with those to whom we have been sent. The Divine Renovation principles help us to do this.