Tips for Anglican Ordinariate parish growth

Our webmaster, Shane Schaetzel over at Catholic in the Ozarks, has the following tips for Anglican Ordinariate parish growth on Facebook:

The following are 8 recommendations from what I have witnessed to work. This is how we are growing one Ordinariate parish so fast we can barely keep up with the building size…

1.) Get away from established Catholic parishes. You can’t build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. Embrace the missionary spirit. Move away from your host parish and set up shop in a populated area where no Catholic parishes are nearby. Even if you have to meet in somebody’s home, or in a storefront, it’s better than trying to build your own house in somebody else’s backyard.

2.) Get a good website and reliable contact info. Work your Google business listing for the highest visibility. Make sure people can easily find you.

3.) Behave like a parish. Make sure you’re offering mass and reconciliation regularly.

4.) Make sure you have a parish name — patron saint — don’t go by “Ordinariate Community…” Nobody understands what that means.

5.) Accept everybody, even cradle Catholics looking for a new home. Remember, people don’t have to be Ordinariate eligible to become members of an Ordinariate parish/community. Also, think outside the box when it comes to evangelism. If you’re only reaching out to Anglicans, you’re doing something wrong. You need to reach out to all non-Catholics. Remember, any non-Catholic (regardless of religious background) who is received into the Catholic Church through an Ordinariate parish/community is automatically eligible for Ordinariate membership as well.

6.) Offer highly traditional liturgy. Youth are more attracted to tradition these days. Don’t fall for the hippy happy-clappy trap. Nothing is more dated than contemporary worship. If you want young people to join your community, you need to offer old traditional liturgy. The more “high-church” the better. So use that Divine Worship Missal regularly and vigorously.

7.) Offer challenging homilies. People today are sick and tired of watered-down, non-offensive homilies that don’t challenge them to live the faith. Don’t get me wrong. We need to show the love of God in all of our teaching, but at the same time we need to clearly define sin and challenge our people to overcome it.

8.) Don’t over-explain yourself. There is a tendency to want to explain the whole thing when it comes to the Ordinariate, Anglican Patrimony, our history, etc. Don’t do that. Just answer people’s questions as they ask them, and only give them the information they ask for. Don’t over explain it. That confuses average visitors and makes them think something is “fishy.” Just tell people what they need to know, only when they ask. Then carry on as if what you’re doing is the most natural thing in the world.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Anglican Ordinariate parish growth

  1. Some of these suggestions are much more important, and more urgent, than others.

    >> 1. An ordinariate congregation clearly should set up its own shop as soon as practicable, but a community cannot spend itself into insolvency to do so. A congregation needs to grow to sufficient size to pay the rent after meeting other expenses, like paying its pastor and its assessment to the ordinariate.

    >> 2. Yes, a good web site is critical. At a minimum, it needs to provide readily accessible information as to times of services, activities, and events and some indication of a vibrant community of faith.

    >> 3 & 4. Yes, an ordinariate community absolutely needs to look and act like a parish!

    >> 5. Yes, be welcoming — but not compromising, especially when it comes to gospel values! And yes, missionary activity should be directed toward all who are not actively living Christian faith.

    >> 6. A traditional style of liturgy is not critical, but reverent liturgy with serious spiritual content is absolutely critical! This is supposed to be an act of worship. And yes, contemporary liturgy can be worshipful, and there is a lot of very good contemporary liturgical music.

    >> 7. Yes, the quality and substance of preaching is vital — but this extends far beyond the homily. The most important preaching is the Christian lives of the pastor and the members of the congregation. If they don’t comport with the content of the homily, the homily will ring of hollow hypocrisy rather than conviction.

    >> 8. I generally agree with this. A well-written “about” page on the community’s web site should be sufficient.

    But there’s one more thing: hold activities and events that will attract outsiders, and that can be advertised more broadly! You have to do something to draw people who would not otherwise come if you really want to grow.



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