Lawn Chair Catechism 9.0 is hosting a discussion of the book Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell each Wednesday. You can follow along with the study guide or order the book at the discounted price of $10 with FREE shipping (through July 31).

I felt like this chapter was written for people who work with converts. There was nothing mentioned about cradle Catholics who fall short on the discipleship spectrum; maybe that’s coming up later.

cover-formingintentionaldisciplesNormally I don’t answer the “For Your Parish” study guide question, but the personal question was geared toward someone who clearly is an intentional disciple already and is dealing with people who aren’t. I don’t think I’m “there yet”–not by a long shot. So I’ll take a stab at the questions about my parish (some of them, at least).

What is the spiritual atmosphere in your parish? Have you noticed any change over the past several years? If God were to ask you to mentor a small group of seeking and new disciples in your parish, would you be ready to accept that task?

My parish went through a merger about 5 years ago. We were paired with another parish in the same ZIP code. We kept the Franciscan friars (from our parish), two churches, one office, one rectory and put together any duplicated programs. There weren’t many. I think that our parish has come together well; there’s not an “us vs. them” attitude like there was in the beginning of the merger.

My wish for my parish is that it was more open. I feel like many things are only available to a small core group. Maybe that’s just my own social anxiety rearing its ugly head, but it’s the way I feel. I also feel like we’ve got a lot of buzzwords buzzing about, but I don’t see what’s behind them. It used to be “religious education” and now it’s “faith formation,” for example. But what gets learned? From what I’m reading in the parish bulletin, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of substance.

I am the minister for our parish’s Secular Franciscan fraternity. No, that doesn’t automatically qualify me as a disciple. I do well with the organizational end of things, but I’m not the best at leading discussions of a spiritual nature. I’m not ready to accept the task of mentoring others on the path to discipleship. I’m the poster child for the old joke, “Those who can’t teach, administrate” in this case!

Get in on the discussion at’s Lawn Chair Catechism!

2 thoughts on “Lawn Chair Catechism 9.0

  1. I admire your honesty in regard to the Secular Franciscan group. You may be mentoring people there without even knowing it, I know I am often surprised my people’s comments to me when I am a part of a group. Peace

  2. First, love the new blog host/site/look (a little late in coming over!). 2nd- regarding “faith formation” vs. “religious education” – generally, the switch in name ought to reflect a switch in attitude. RE focuses on learning about religion (Catholicism) as a subject to be studied, and FF focuses on Catholicism as a reality to be lived. It’s a hard switch to make, usually the name change is just one of the first indicators in *trying* to move more toward helping kids (and families) become intentional disciples 🙂

    Also, please don’t take the bulletin notes as evidence of what is or isn’t happening in the program. I’m a DRE and unfortunately, filling out that weekly spot has so much more potential than I use it for. Maybe offer to go talk with older classes (or parents) about what a secular Franciscan is, or lead an opening prayer service? Or better yet, if you’re an introvert, arrange/administer for another 2 members to go. Talk with the DRE, tell her/him some other DRE gave you the crazy idea and you were wondering how you could help. It’s hard for us to turn down help 🙂 And I’m often looking for ways to connect families to the parish at large, so RE isn’t their only/main contact with the Church outside of Mass…

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