Is your RCIA team too small? Do you long for more help? Do you wonder why more people won’t volunteer? Maybe you need to think about smallness differently.
There are advantages to having a small team. Once your team grows past a certain size, you might have to become more of a manager and do less of the things you love that brought you into initiation ministry.
The smaller your team is, the faster you can make decisions. If you want to change the way you structure catechetical sessions or change some elements of the rituals, you can do so much more easily if you only have to consult with a few people.
Also, smallness forces collaboration. There is already a lot going on in your parish that can help form the catechumens and candidates. If your team is too small to do it all, reach out to some of the other parish groups for help. Would your catechumens and candidates benefit from sitting in on a parent night for first Communion preparation? Could they join the Bible study group occasionally? Would the formation events that are provided for infant baptism prep be helpful? What could they learn from attending a parish council meeting?
Training becomes simpler too. With a small team, you can dive more deeply into the details and nuances of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. You can provide training more often and in smaller bites. You can much more easily go away somewhere for in-depth training.
The catechumens and candidates might also benefit from a smaller team. With just a few of you interacting with the initiates, everyone knows everyone. You can develop stronger relationships and more quickly recognize struggles.
A smaller team is also likely to have fewer conflicts. It’s just human nature that the larger your group grows, the more potential for conflict. Conflict is not always bad, and even small teams can experience conflict. But the smaller your team, the more quickly you can resolve conflicts and move forward.
Simple things like meeting times and places become complicated if your team is large. I know of a parish with over 30 team members. Just finding a room for team meetings is a logistical challenge. And then making sure everyone can show up at the same time is another challenge. When it’s just you and a couple other people, you can meet at Starbucks if you have to and scheduling is a snap.
Mistakes get fixed more quickly on small teams. Mistakes happen all the time. But on a large team, you might not find out about the mistake until it is too late to fix it. Or you might not find out about it at all.
We all long for what we don’t have. I’ve mostly served on small teams, and I have often wondered how much more effective we could have been with a few more members. But be careful what you wish for. The Holy Spirit has sent you the team you have (even if the team is just you!) and has gifted your team with everything you need to lead seekers on the way of faith. Embrace your smallness, and say a prayer of thanks tonight for the people you do have on your team.
3 thoughts on “Embrace your smallness: the advantages of a lean RCIA team”
Thank you. These are great insights and I feel much better about my small team. I agree – it does encourage more collaboration. Makes me think “what part of parish life can they experience, and not just be in an RCIA ‘session'” I hadn’t thought about making changes too. I like to continue ‘tweaking’ our process as I learn more and more about the Rite and it is very much easier with a small team.
Thanks for all you do at TeamRCIA. You are a great asset to the ministry! Blessings!
Hi Terry. I’m glad it was helpful! Keep up the great work.
When I was doing RCIA my team consisted of my wife and me. It was great, and if we needed odd bits of help, there were other people we could call on. I think because it was just the two of us, other people were more ready to help when needed.