All of us as members of Christ's body are called to be missionary disciples. We begin by making a commitment to an ever-deepening relationship with God, expressed through faithful, fruitful living. We do this through the vocations to which we are called, priests and deacons, consecrated men and women, and laity together. Pope Francis speaks of all those who serve the Church, in whatever capacity to which they are called and have responded, as pastoral workers. (See EG, 76ff) In this spirit, we propose that all pastoral workers, clergy, laity and consecrated men and women build skills together, as servant leaders and builders of bridges.

Become a builder of bridges

Make connections with the people around you, those with whom you serve and those who may be willing to become involved through your invitation, mentoring, and companionship.

Recognize and develop your God-given talents, and those of others. Develop a parish environment in which every person is valued and where all are given the opportunity to give of themselves and their talents. Build strong partnerships as collaborators in ministry; remember that Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs (Mk 6:7), and said "for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Mt 18:20) Strong, complementary partnerships, built upon the talents of each person, profoundly impact our effectiveness as servant leaders.

Grow in skill. It is not uncommon for parishes to begin new initiatives, experience initial impact, and then, hit a plateau. If we are honest with ourselves, we often get stuck. Often, the "stuckness" is a result of the need for leaders with particular skills that meet the needs of the moment, such as the ability to lead and manage projects, hold excellent meetings, build and implement a short-term or long-range plan, and draw together an effective strengths-based team. Sign up for our e-newsletter here in order to receive updates as we continue to build the Bridges series and resources. See a list of the Bridges series modules below.

Reach out to others and draw them in. Widen the circles of relationship, faith, charity, service, and leadership. Transform the lives of individuals and the life of the parish community. Evangelize.