Kickoff Wk 2: Playbook
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Kickoff Week 2: Playbook
When a group of clergy get together, you can be sure they all know exactly what the pope should do about everything right now! When many of us get together, you can be sure we know exactly what the president should do about the economy, what the owners of our favorite sports teams should do to win a championship, and what the head of the United Nations should do about conflict in Ukraine, the African Nations, Taiwan, or the Middle East.
We’re all “experts” on what’s out THERE, only too glad to pontificate about what is safely beyond our reach because that requires no investment. But that’s not a real life.
Just talking about things and deciding for ourselves what other people should do is not real life. Real life is right here, within our reach. And attending fully to what is here, investing ourselves fully in this time and place is the only sure formula for a happy life. No one ever did that better than Jesus. No one ever paid closer attention to the present; no one ever used his gifts more thoroughly.
No one ever invested himself more fully in the people right in front of him than Jesus did.
This is the second week of our message series we call Kickoff because we are kicking off our ministries after a summer hiatus. Last week we discussed pouring yourself into your faith by being “All In”, by investing in others and inviting others into our small groups, thereby helping them to grow in discipleship as we grow. The word invite occurs NINE times in the gospel today. Nine times! How are you doing with inviting others into our small groups? If you are not yet in a small group, I personally invite you now to join one. Just go to our website saintmary.life, and click on the small groups image to sign up.
If we are going to be like Jesus and invest in people, we have to be humble. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. We don’t think less of who we are because our dignity, our very identity, resides in the fact that we are sons and daughters of God.
We are called; however, to think of ourselves less by being like Jesus who was self-less in the way he served others. Our parish has many ways you can follow Jesus’ call to be humble and self-less by sharing yourself and your gifts with others.
As we bid farewell to summer, it is time to ask once again, how are we doing with the gifts that God has lent us? How are using those gifts in the here and now, here at Saint Mary? Let’s look at ourselves with open, honest, hopeful hearts. There’s more giftedness within us, within our parish, more opportunity right around us than most of us have ever imagined.
Try to see the work that God has assigned you by lending you your specific gifts and putting you in this specific church community. And then help God build the kingdom of God here. The kingdom of God is not a place. It’s a loving activity into which we are all called to participate. God’s given us all the tools we need to help him build a share of his kingdom, here and now! Are you using the gifts and the tools God has given you to use for his purposes? One of the gifts and tools God gives the church to help clarify his purposes is a playbook.
This second week of our Kickoff message series is titled Playbook because Jesus gives us what companies, sports teams, and many churches call a playbook.
A playbook clarifies vision and mission, and how to fulfill that vision and mission. It clarifies God’s purpose for us. The universal Catholic Church has a playbook, which says the Church, the body of Christ, exists to evangelize, this parish has a playbook which clarifies evangelization as sharing Jesus with the world and how we are called to do that.
Are you humbly playing by the book, as the scriptures are encouraging us to do, or just making up your role in the church as you see fit? Are we guilty of pontificating over what others should be doing, including what the church should be doing? Or are we humbly investing ourselves?
When Jesus tells us not to be arrogant, or high and mighty, by sitting at the table at the high places, he is telling us that we are to humbly serve, serve according to his playbook, which is also the Universal Catholic Church’s Playbook, from which we developed Saint Mary’s parish playbook. Saint Mary’s parish playbook is succinct and only 1 page long. It answers 6 main questions? Here are those questions and their answers.
- Why does Saint Mary Catholic Church exist? To be “a place where it becomes impossible not to share Jesus with the world.” Acts 4:20 –It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.
- How do we behave?
- We are Committed to the Journey and the Process (of becoming an even a more amazing parish of evangelists)
- We are Joyfully Relational
- We have a Solution Finding Spirit.
- What do we do? We experience Jesus personally through Mass, sacraments, prayer, evangelizing, discipling, community, and service.
- How will we succeed? (Three anchors through which all decisions must be viewed.)
- Intentionally invite all, in person and online, to the Sunday Experience
- Challenge families to make a vibrant domestic church the norm? (It all starts and ends at home)
- Is what we’re doing connecting our parish to our vision?
- What is most important–right now? (This is our current Thematic Goal) The 99 Mission and the 99 Small group experience
- Who must do what? We have a separate sheet defining who will do what in order for us to achieve the current thematic goal.
That is Saint Mary’s parish playbook. You can review it on our website, saintmary.life under parish leadership. https://saintmary.life/parish-leadership
We often refer to Saint Mary as our church, and there is a reality to that. But the true reality is, this church is the Church of Jesus Christ, into which he calls us to participate, and into which we are privileged to participate, according to his plan, his playbook. We are to humbly leave our own agenda behind.
Jesus says: The humble will be exalted.
You see, when we live in humility, recognizing that all we have is a gift from God and using those gifts to serve him, according to his purposes, not ours, then God “exalts” us, by filling us with even more of himself and his grace. How beautiful is that?
Those are all the things we want you to know today. This is what we would like for you to do.
Be humble. Get involved here. Try and see the work that God has assigned to you by lending you your specific gifts and putting you in this specific church. Let’s get on with helping God build a share of his kingdom here and now. God has given you all the gifts, all the tools, you need to participate according to his purpose, his playbook.
We ask you to please sign up today to serve, to volunteer, for a ministry or two in Jesus’ Church. He, and we, need your help.
Just get out your phone and sign up now online www.saintmary.life/serve, or use the cards in your pews and drop them off in the baskets by the exit doors when you leave today. I’m going to sit for a while you discern how the Lord is calling you to serve. Thank you in advance for your humble service. Please sign up today.