We're all called to be missionary disciples - to be actively engaged in the evangelizing mission of the Church. Unfortunately, we've heard from many Catholics that don't feel like they know where to start.

As we seek to renew our Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we want to help you take the first steps to prepare for the mission to which God is calling you. We're asking the Lord to give us NEW HEARTS, NEW MINDS and NEW METHODS as we go forth to proclaim His Good News.

We created the PREPARING FOR MISSION GUIDEBOOK as a tool to help you respond to God's call and understand your call to mission.  This guidebook can be used for personal reflection or in a group setting at your parish or faith sharing group. 



 We recommend each parish launch small groups for parishioners to go through the Preparing for Mission Guidebook.  The Guidebook was written to be simple and user friendly - you don't need theological training or lots of experience leading small groups to be successful. Just starting the conversations is half the battle. Below are a few practical steps you can take to get started in your parish.

1. Identify your audiences

Who are the people in your parish that would benefit most from a better understanding of their mission to evangelize and then make a plan to invite them (hint: It's everyone). Here are a few groups you could target: Parish Staff, Parish Council, Stewardship committee, Finance Committee, Athletic Association leaders, Bible Study Leaders, and more! Make a list of names of people in each of these groups and pray that they would be open to being a part of a Preparing for Mission small group.

2. Make it Personal

Advertising on the website or in the bulletin is great (and you should do that too), but people are much more likely to respond to a personal invitation. It's a good practice to be in as we are learning to flex our evangelizing muscles. Personal invitation is key for our evangelization efforts. Try to keep your groups small enough to foster personal relationships and sharing (4-6 people max). Doing this imitates the model Jesus used when he became man and invested in his apostles personally.

3. Pick Meeting Times that work

Form groups that meet when people are available. It may sound obvious, but offering different times is important. Young Adutls and working professionals can't meet during the day, but seniors usually can. Evenings can be busy, some groups may want to meet before morning masses to discuss. Be flexible and accommodating for the people you are trying to reach.

4. Go Forth

Once you complete the Preparing for Mission Guide with your group, find new people in your parish who would benefit from the same training and invite them to a new group. Ask those who participated in your group to identify 3-5 more people to lead in another round. This is also great practice for evangelization - once we receive a gift, we have to share it with others. Those who have gone through the guidebook can apply the principles and mindest to whatever ministries they are involved in at the parish - helping us all to undergo the missionary transformation the church is calling us to.

"The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community." 

-Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel 28

10 Practical Tips for Leading a Small Faith Sharing Group

Small faith sharing groups or discipleship groups can be a great way for participants and the leader to grow in readiness to evangelize. Here are 10 tips to help your small group be a great place where missionary disciples are formed!

1. Keep it small! Do not allow the group to be larger than six participants. That way, everyone has time to share!

2. Prepare in advance! Prepare by reviewing discussion material and praying for group members and the group discussion.

3. Be hospitable! Create a welcoming environment with a comfortable meeting space and providing simple snacks and drinks.

4. Check in! Provide time for checking in with each member by doing something such as sharing “high, low, and/or God moments” from the week.

5. Begin with prayer! Start and end each meeting with prayer inviting the Lord into these moments with your group.

6. Establish boundaries! Help the group in forming “rules” to promote fruitful discussion for all such as no judging and allowing all to speak.

7. Respect time! Allow the Holy Spirit to direct the group but be respectful of time by keeping the group on topic and moving through the plan of meeting.

8. Focus on the goal! The goal is to help the group members grow in love for Christ and His Church and to grow as missionary disciples. While socializing is good for growing friendship, the primary focus should be growing in faith. Do not let the bulk of your time be spent in socialization.

9. Avoid things that hinder the goal! Avoid gossip and negativity. This hurts the overall mission of the group. Avoid allowing the group to function as spiritual direction or counseling session. If needed, point members in the right direction to an appropriate professional at an appropriate time. Avoid controversial topics and debate, as a small faith sharing group is not the best place for this type of discussion.

10. Encourage the group! Encourage openness and honesty. Encourage respect of each other. Encourage confidentiality. Encourage group members to pray and grow outside of the group. Encourage members to share the way the Lord is moving in their lives with others.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 18:20 



Hospitaltiy Matters

What happens the first time a new person walks through the doors of your church?  MAY 1, 2022 | NEW METHODS

The Primacy of Prayer 

It's impossible to be a missionary disciple without a prayer life.  May 15, 2022 | NEW HEARTS

Video Series
Evangelization 101

Learn the basics of how to be a missinary disciples with our Evangelizaiton 101 Series!   March 25, 2022 | NEW MINDS

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20 Archbishop May Dr.
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(314) 792-7005

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