I've been thinking about this upcoming year at the parish, and we're doing faith formation planning, and I've come to this resolution that I think we should make, as a staff.
I think we should agree to assume the best about our parishioners. I think we should remove from our conversations that sound anything like this: "oh, they'll never come for that." "They will be confused by that." "The people don't want to work that hard." "That is too much to ask." "They will resent us for pushing too hard (or asking too much)."
I think the truth is closer to this: people in our parishes are seeking for something. They want to learn more about their faith. They want to grow closer to God. They want to help, and they appreciate being needed.
I believe that thinking this way about our people can make a huge difference in how we treat them, and that will make a difference in their response.
But hey, it's just a theory... we'll have to try it to know if it works...