Skip to main content
Catholic CommunicationsGet Better at LeadingNot FearThe Journey

The 2 Divergent Paths Your Church Could Take

By December 17, 2019No Comments

It doesn’t matter how packed out your church is. Young people in today’s world are ALONE, and as the one contact they might have to the spiritual world, we’re wasting our opportunities to connect with them through the power of storytelling. Because they may look and smell good on Sunday mornings, we tend to underestimate the amount of suffering they undergo day to day, and it is the Church’s job to address this existential crisis.  We remain strangers to each other in a time of supposed hyper-connectivity. Why is that?

Why are young people leaving the Church in droves? Where are we missing the mark?

Imagine 2 paths diverging in the woods… one is more of the same, the other is a world of possibility. On the path of change are people who’ve overcome addictions, living in happy marriages, raising children that feel loved, safe, and whose spiritual needs are met. These lives are filled with joy, significance, and because they feel connected and inspired by their Church, they invite people to attend Mass. They live decent lives and produce families of their own with the same values. These are people that know how to love openly. This is how love in action looks. And sadly, these days, it’s the exception, not the rule.

Down the other path are ‘punch-card’ churchgoers that have failing or failed marriages. They suffer from addictions and alcoholism that goes untreated. These people find solace in things: jewelry, houses, cars and the like. They have to string as many moments of pleasure together as possible to cope with life. They have affairs. They are unbearable to their co-workers, and in general, they harbor ongoing resentment, and they’re pretty sure no one loves them. I know this persona because it was me. In fact, about two days out of every month, it’s still me! (I’m 36 as of 2018 and I have no problem admitting that I have a long way to go in my spiritual development – a long way.)

Which path are your parishioners on? If you really don’t know, then that’s a hint. The spiritually sick among us hide from the world. They isolate themselves and only come out to tell the truth when their worlds are crashing down. They decide to “work on their marriage” when they’re 14 years in with 2 kids and their bags are packed. Their third rehab didn’t take. You only hear from them when they need help because – as all spiritually sick people are – they’re incredibly self-centered, resigned and cynical. How can we overcome that? How can we reach these people? I have the benefit of knowing because I was one of these people.

The end goal for all Churches is essentially the same: Bring people closer to God. No matter what denomination you are, no matter what holy book you ascribe to, no matter what commandments your particular church adheres to, we all believe that God wants us to love one another more fully – and if we’re honest with ourselves, we cannot do that without getting to know the people sitting next to us on Sunday.

We can’t claim to be pursuing a better understanding of God, and at the same time remain strangers to the people alongside us on the journey.

We can’t profess our love for our neighbor and remain ignorant of their cross. Knowing the names of their children is not the same as knowing what’s in their heart.

So far I’m sure you’re thinking these are all ideas you learned in kindergarten. “Make friends and help others.” And you’re right. But when the rubber meets the road, getting people who carry decades of emotional baggage around with them to open up and become vulnerable is hard!

In this book, I will teach you how to do that tactfully, with the technology and media production tools that are accessible to everyone. Most of the tools you will use are extremely low cost, if not free, so this will not involve a substantial financial investment. If you implement some of these practices in your Church, you will be helping people grow in their faith – I promise.

Diligent Damian

Author Diligent Damian

More posts by Diligent Damian