July 19, 2019

Called to Renew: Reflection from a Parish Life Director

Transforming the World – A Disciple’s Response
by Deacon Jim Carper

Back in the day, every successful not-for-profit organization had an “elevator speech” – a brief, persuasive statement used to spark interest in your organization. It could be used to create interest in a project, an idea, a product, a ministry – or a capital campaign. A good elevator pitch lasted no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. It was meant to let people know quickly and concisely what your organization or your campaign was all about. If I asked you to tell me about your parish or tell me about your project, what would you say?

People tell me: “I don’t like asking for money.” In fact, most people don’t. On the other hand, we all love talking about the things we love: a favorite hobby, a new car, our last vacation, our families. So, don’t make your capital campaign about money. Money is only the means to an end. Make your campaign about your parish, your parishioners, your projects and, most importantly, the passions which drive your vision for the future.

Some time ago, I was introduced to a world-class Korean Catholic artist through a mutual friend. “I want to do a project with you,” she began. “But first, tell me about your parish.” As most of us would, I led with statistics: when we were founded, when we built the new church, how many parishioners we have, our demographic make-up. “That’s all very nice,” she replied. “Now, tell me about your church.” Message received! I began to share about our ministries and our parishioners, how our homeless kitchen feeds 300 people a week, how we reunite children with their incarcerated parents, how a 97-year-old parishioner helps pick up donated food at a local grocery store.

Finally, she held up her hand, “That’s what I needed to hear; I want to do a project with you.”

Years ago, I worked as Director of Stewardship at St. Monica Catholic Community. Their Mission Statement read simply “To form loving disciples who will transform the world.” So, how will your projects transform your world? Your parish’s world? Your community’s world? How will you form loving disciples who will transform the world? Define your passion, give your elevator speech with enthusiasm, and the money for the transformation will follow.  Trust me – it’s never just about the money!

© 2019 James E. Carper. All rights reserved.

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