“Amen I say to you, what so ever you did to the least of my brothers you did to me.”
Members of a stewardship parish are ready to minister to varied needs of their own parish family as well as the needs of the wider community and Church. Just as the members of a family come together to help one of their own, a stewardship parish family serves those who comes toether to celebrate, thank and to return God’s gifts–all are needs of parishioners.
Like a blood family, the parish family stands read and eager collectively to wrap their arms around their brothers and sisters when they suffer or celebrate special events in their lives.
“God so constructed the body, that there may be no dissension in the body, but that all members may be concerned for one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with him or her; if one member is honored, all the members share his or her joy.” 1Cor: 12:24, 25-26.
Parishioners seek the parish family as primary community to serve and to be served–to give and to receive. If I find I can serve and be ministered to, I have little need to search elsewhere for this fulfillment. Likewise, I have recognized a place where my service is appreciated and utilized for the good of the church.
But the members of a stewardship parish recognize that they have a need to give beyond their own members only. We have a need to serve and to give in the diocese, the community and the Universal Church. Failure to have this understanding leads to a selfish parochialism, which is life draining to a parish stewardship way of life. This is a challenge to some parishioners, who are willing to serve their own, but not outsiders. Interestingly, if this is the mindset of a particular parish, chances also exist that such a parish does not embrace fully the first pillar of a stewardship parish — namely hospitality.
The pillar of service is an opportunity for the parish to put into concrete practice the other three pillars shared in the previous pillar descriptions: hospitality, prayer and formation. To say one is a stewardship parish is not enough to make one a stewardship parish. True stewardship parishes practice all four of these pillars, with Jesus Christ as the model and the foundation from which the pillars arise.
Service goals for the parish: Provide opportunities for all parishioners to serve in a manner meaningful to them and the parish mission.