We’re getting to the end of the book, and this chapter is full of practical ideas.

Step 2 in creating a culture of discipleship is to create multiple, overlapping opportunities for people to personally encounter Jesus in the midst of his Church.

Weddell goes on to list a number of items, and then she says,

We need a wide spectrum of opportunities because there is no single silver bullet. We need to have a variety of different paths or doors to discipleship available and visible so that most people will find at least one way to connect with or draw closer to Christ. Instead of thinking of these ministries as separate, siloed endeavors run by different parish interest groups, we need to see all of our ministries in light of our primary call to make disciples. [emphasis mine]

Well, there goes my hopes…no single silver bullet, huh?

But, at a parish level (and mine can’t be the only parish that’s this way, because I’ve seen it in a number of business endeavors too), so often we approach things this way. “If only we x, we’ll get more people involved.” “Ah, but introduce y and everyone will start coming.” “We can’t afford z so there goes our numbers.”

This is a job we all share. It’s not up to the staff, it’s not up to the pastor, it’s not up to the people who win the Holiest of the Holy Award.

My approach to this, my way of making it work, may be different from yours. How I relate to people, the ideas I pursue, and the discipleship I live may veer from a path that seems regular, safe, accepted. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong or that it won’t work.

The more I work in a parish (and the longer I’m a mom, too), the more I come to appreciate the different gifts we all have and how they fit together (or, ahem, don’t). It takes time for some of us to recognize our gifts and still longer for us to be in a season where that gift is both available to share and mature enough for anyone want to be part of it.

Enter the discussion on charisms.

Charisms play a critical role in the mission of evangelization. Charisms are ways that you and I are empowered by God to be channels of his love, mercy, beauty, truth, wisdom, healing, and provision for others. The power of God flowing through a charism can help reveal Christ, remove impediments to belief, and encourage others to open their lives to God and receive sanctifying grace through the sacraments.

They’re given to everyone who’s baptized, and what a few lists Weddell has compiled. I felt doubly blessed because at least three of the four charisms I think I might have are on the “not typically fostered” list, and I would say my parish and my pastor have both fostered and helped me grow in them.

What did you think? Join the discussion over at CatholicMom.com! There’s a summary (you don’t have to read the book to participate!) and some great questions to get you started.