Michael raises a good point. So often, we as pastoral leaders seem to want to boil everything down to a program. We mean well, but we fall easily into "just tell me what to do and I'll be happy to do it, particularly if you can guarantee some quick success." Many recognize the shortcomings of programmatic thought, but still, we are busy, we do all we can to respond to the needs of those in our midst, and so if there's an easy fix, why not take it?
The reality is, of course, there is no easy fix. Our solutions are not programmatic, but are rooted in the ways in which we understand ourselves as disciples and the ways in which we know the parish to be "the locus in which the Christian community is formed and expressed." (OHWB, 117)
Viewing the parish as the place where disciples are formed changes how we proceed. I think that is why the information on engagement is so fascinating to me. It gives us a lens through which to view many of our practices, not in a programmatic way, but with an eye for what we can do to enhance what is already present and life-giving in our parishes. We come to see that there is much upon which to build, and much that we have to give as members of the body of Christ, graced with talents, urged forward to contribute to the reign of God through our witness and our actions.
What do you think?