Just ask them. Ask them effectively, and I know they will come. It works.
We continue with goal number two, and a twofold approach to inviting people to church.
The bishops suggest very basic things for themselves: publicity that highlights good input for the Church nationally, hiring competent media personnel for the national office, and an eye to evangelization in future documents.
Local strategies are suggested:
- mailings, home visits, and consistent invitation to people newly moving into parish areas;
- neighborhood publicity through newspapers and posters;
- periodic taking of a census;
- involvement in and service to the neighborhood;
- development of neighborhood, parish, and local events to which people would be specially invited (e.g., open houses, open forums for airing questions and issues, events for friends or extended families, or other programs of welcoming); and
- greater sensitivity to the needs of the seeker.
“Consistent” is the most important quality for the first bullet point. Being prepared to offer appropriate invitations year-round, not just when convenient.
Local publicity is good, but seekers need something to which to be invited. Mass on Christmas and Easter, certainly. But also those special events listed in point five. I might add 12-step programs, community education classes, and the larger open social events like dinners, carnivals, and festivals.
Providing service in the neighborhood: that should be a part of every parish’s task list: yard work and shoveling for the elderly is a prominent seasonal one that comes to mind right now.