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what are you going to do about that

What Are You Going to Do About That?

Jan 19, 2021

I have the pleasure of knowing a priest who is the king of empowering his parishioners to improve the local Church. He doesn’t do it through particularly excellent preaching (though he’s good!), and he’s not the most talented administrator of all time. But he’s a good listener. And when someone comes into his office to talk about something that could be improved at the parish or to complain, he gives that person his full attention. Then he utters one simple phrase: “What are you going to do about that?”

You can imagine the varied reactions he has received in reply! Some people have left in shock. Others have yelled at him and called him names. But the vast majority have understood what he means. They take it to heart because he’s a man of integrity. They step away and discern what their role is. And then they get to work. And the incredible ministries that have sprung forth from his parish are a sight to see.

Father gets it. There are only so many hours in a day, and while he is called to serve his people, the details must be carried out by the laity. His blunt phrasing works because, in the end, it empowers people to act on behalf of the parish.

So try it sometime: “What are you going to do about that?” And see where the answer leads. (Maybe to people helping your pastor with email!)