In 2017, the Parish of St. Monica participated in the “Disciple Maker Index” (DMI), a questionnaire led by Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI). Based on the results of that study, along with prayer, consultation with parishioners and discernment, the parish focused on three major areas: “Encountering Christ .. In His Word, In the Liturgy and in Reaching our and Helping Others.” In late April, the parish took the DMI again. First, I wish to thank all parishioners who took the time to fill out the survey. My hope is that this investment of your time will be rewarded in what you see happening in the parish based on what you told us.
Let me offer a brief perspective on the DMI. In the 2-3 year parish journey, we look at various tools in the process to measure the effectiveness of the plan:
- Financial Reports
- “October Count” (Actual people in the pews on Sunday)
- Number of Sacraments per Year
- Amount and Vibrancy of Parish Activities
- Disciple Maker Index
According to Catholic Leadership Institute, churches do not see growth in everything. Churches do see growth in areas they focus on.
Over the past two years, we especially focused on:
- Encountering Christ through His Word.
- Encountering Christ Through Outreach and Service to Others
- Encountering Christ through Liturgy
Here is what you told us via the DMI:
We are doing well in Religious Education, service to others, helping grow my faith through small groups and individual prayer. We have opportunities to improve in the areas of liturgy, belief that the Church helps grow my relationship with Christ, belief in Jesus’ moral teaching as guiding my life.
It’s tough time to be a Catholic today. We are operating in a difficult time to be in the church. We need to own our faith. We need to own our church and our parish.
What comes next? We will continue to invest in the areas where we are doing well. For example, Religious Education showed dramatic improvement due to the transformative changes to a “small group” format and significant investment in resources to support this change. The parish support of this change produced one of the highest scores across all parishes that took the DMI survey.
We would like to go deeper and get your input into the areas where we can improve. One key area is liturgy.
- What does “vibrant liturgy look and feel like?”
- What are the components of a “vibrant” liturgy? (Hospitality, Hymnody, Homily)
- What is your experience of St. Monica in liturgy?
We put focus on the area of hospitality. This included additional, trained greeters at every door and every Mass, a new “Welcome and Information” desk and personal phone calls to welcome new parishioners. Nevertheless, the DMI results showed much room for improvement.
- What are key hospitality factors to you?
- What would make you feel “welcome” at each Mass?
- Should “Hospitality” include more than greeting people and opening doors?
- Is hospitality more than “coffee and doughnuts?”
Bottom line: Things are moving in the right direction AND…we still have a ways to go. We haven’t figured it out yet and we need your help. We need to have a conversation about the focus, direction and actions we will take over the next few years. Stay tuned for additional DMI insights and further details on how you can participate.