[quote=puzzleannie]yes but nobody attends, I am about to give up. I am so sick and tired of wasting my time polling parishioners for classes they want, responding to calls for more bible study etc., lining up speakers and presenters, purchasing resources, scheduling space, setting up chairs, advertising, promoting and publicizing in every way imaginable and having 3 people show up for the first class, and two of them leaving because they thought it was another meeting.
That indeed would be discouraging, PuzzleA, and as I’ve seen you mention this several times before, it has apparently left a very bad taste in your mouth. I would encourage to not give up! Personally, I’m convinced that parish directed small-group discipling is key the future of the Catholic Church in our time.
I’ve been leading small groups in our parish for a number of years and have had mixed success in participation (in a large parish like ours, to get a dozen people to show up for a directed study is considered a huge success).
Where I’ve seen the most success is where the study or talk(s) are marketed widely (bulletin, pulpit, e-mail, word of mouth,and flyer) as a “don’t miss” opportunity (“Don’t pass up this chance to learn about…”).
It also helps to have a comfortable, spacious, dependably available and well-lighted place to hold the study. If there are study materials to be used, it’s imperative to have desks or tables – the sitting in an open circle-thing just does not work for juggling Bibles and guides, and taking notes, which people should be ecouraged to do.
Above all the material must be interactive and challenging. Some people may like to sit like lumps of coal and not interact, but most people, if they are going to take the trouble to show up at one of these things want to come away with new tools and ways & means to follow up. Recommend books, pass out articles, compel them to look up Scripture citations in class, ask them TOUGH questions. Don’t water down Catholic teaching --give it to them with both barrels. In my experience, they’ll literally thank you for it, and ask for more.
I know you’ve probably tried all these things, but don’t give up. If you haven’t already I recommend you take a look at the tips and pointers found in the Protestant Navpress magazine Discipleship Journal. No matter what you think of the Navigators, you can’t argue with success and they have some great, easy to modify and implement ideas. Take what good you can find, “Catholicize” it, and you’re off and running. Good luck!