Vibrant parishes are life-giving communities that foster holiness and discipleship among their members, joyfully desiring to share the gift of faith in Jesus Christ with those they encounter.

Understanding each person is uniquely called and gifted, vibrant parishes help form and equip them to live that call. They know people are searching for a deeper spiritual connection in their lives, where their hopes, joys and anxieties can be expressed, and they embrace new opportunities for service.

The Vibrant Parish dimension of the Framework is inspired by the witness of the earliest Christian communities described in Acts 2:42-47.

These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers … they sold their goods and possessions and divided the proceeds to all according to what each one needed.’ 

Acts 2:42 – 45

The passage reveals how the lives of the early Christians were animated by five interrelated characteristics: worship, fellowship, formation, service, and evangelisation.

Far from being a rigid structure to follow, the early Christians should inspire us towards constant growth in these five areas. Some related goals to help this journey would be:

  • Worship: Liturgies that lift hearts and bring people into an encounter with Jesus.
  • Fellowship: Radical hospitality that draws each person into a community where they are welcomed, known, and supported in their call to holiness.
  • Formation: Opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth that serve an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus.
  • Service: Pastoral care that reaches outward in love to share faith and serve those in need.
  • Evangelisation: Inviting and accompanying others into a relationship with Jesus through witness to faith in word and action.

What follows are thoughts and observations on each of these areas, as well as suggestions for further reading and resources you may find helpful.

Please note these same characteristics are reflected in most of the popular approaches to missionary renewal, such as Amazing Parish, Divine Renovation, Rebuilt, as well as the Building Stronger Parishes handbook published by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2016.

We encourage you to draw on the approaches you think will best work with your parish culture.