Testimony 3 of 3 for the Charism of Pastoring

“One of the best ways I can serve God and others is by doing whatever it takes to enable a group of Catholics to come together and explore their faith.”

When I filled in the C&G Inventory I had only scored 6 for Pastoring. However, my wife thought otherwise and would have given me 14! When I stopped to think about Pastoring – nurturing the long term spiritual growth and relationships and of a group.

I realised that much of my experience did indeed match the statements in the C&G literature. For example:

8. I understand the importance of Christian community and do everything I can to make it possible for Christians to spend time together sharing their experiences of following Jesus. At work, I had been involved in leading the Christian Fellowship, organising events and prayer meetings, getting Christians together and helping them share their faith or discuss how their faith makes a difference. I felt really joyful doing this as people became more confident in allowing their faith to shine through in the workplace. I was also very thankful that the exec. management were supportive through the grace of God. I received a lot of positive feedback over many years following meetings and events, especially when we hosted other Christian Groups who were not allowed to meet on their premises. Another source of feedback was being asked to join the Canary Wharf Chaplaincy steering group.

14. I have helped a specific group of Christians grow spiritually by bringing people together on a regular basis to pray, study, or share their faith

42. People have told me that they have been spiritually encouraged and
strengthened by being part of a small Christian group that I facilitated. In my parish, I helped to organise and run the prayer group and theEvangelisation Cell Group. I also actively participated in “The Gift” (A Life in the Spirit Course) and “Big Picture” (a CaFE Bible Course) helping to create an environment where people trusted enough to share deepest thoughts/feelings. I felt both amazement and gratitude when people repeatedly shared very private hopes, fears, dreams, experiences as
their relationship with the group and with God grew stronger. My feedback for this was the regular and constant attendance by members of these groups.

66. One of the best ways I can serve God and others is by doing whatever it takes to enable a group of Catholics to come together and explore their faith. The C&G Small Discernment Group which I led, each member exploring a charism and growing in awareness, has resulted in several being clearer on what they are called to do (and
not to do!) I felt quiet satisfaction at the progress some people made, but also genuine sadness at others who seem blocked or unable to accept their giftedness in some way. As a result of leading this group I have been asked to facilitate other groups in the parish or speak at meetings.

90. I enjoy and have been told that I am particularly good at guiding and encouraging the spiritual growth of a group of Christians
About this time I had been trained as a C&G interviewer and subsequently being approved to train other interviewers on behalf of the Catherine of Sienna Institute was a really positive piece of feedback. This has involved interacting with interviewers at team meetings, providing feedback from participants, discussing an interviewer’s challenging conversation or training new interviewers. I really enjoy every opportunity to interact in this way and sometimes receive pictures/images to share with people. A recent example of affirmation was the response – “I must go
and write that down…

So over time I think I have learned not to take the inventory too literally, to be prepared for surprises, to trust that God will provide and then step out and take some risks!

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