Every parish in Peninsular Malaysia is struggling to build and revive the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) in both urban and rural areas. In our parish our BECs are doing quite well relatively speaking, but we can still do a little more.
I make every effort to be present at the BECCOT meetings (BEC Coordinating Team) every first Wednesday of the month. The BECCOT team is working hand in hand with the BEC leaders by animating the monthly meetings and solving issues that arise at the BEC level. The team also assists and trains the BEC leaders and revives the leaders’ roles by giving them formations especially on leadership quality.
Some leaders are happy and joyfully serve their BECs without qualms even though they have been serving in their BECs for a number of years. At large many leaders are not too happy about serving in their BECs and are just waiting to hand over their baton or tasks to someone else. Some members are not willing to give it a try to take up the leadership role by giving excuses such as: fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of uncertainty, fear of responsibility, fear of making mistakes, fear of being criticized, lack of confidence, lack of time and so forth.
When we don’t eliminate a life of excuses, we hold ourselves back from recognising opportunities and discovering our talents, skills and potential. We paralyze ourselves from growing in our spiritual life and this prevents us from moving forward in all areas of our lives! If we don’t challenge ourselves to reach new heights, we will never really know what we are capable of. Opportunities lie hidden in front of us and in every corner of our lives – so it’s best that we don’t crack our heads by constantly finding reasons to make excuses.
What I request from the BEC leaders and the BEC core teams is that they bear the burden of leadership and responsibility and to genuinely care for one another in their respective BECs. You are not alone working in the vineyard of the Lord, “For you are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s farm, God’s building,” (1 Cor 3:9).You need to first and foremost focus on your spirituality and make an effort to increase your faith life. In the long run, these will help to enhance your personal strength and expand the scope of your ministry in the BECs. In fact, you will gain the trust of your BEC members and they will then perceive you as guiding them well.
I suggest that you develop your leadership quality by sharing your responsibilities with your core team as well as members of your BECs. If you are willing to let others share in your responsibilities, encourage the caring for one another and to make decisions, (even if you think they do things a bit differently from you), perhaps this kind of shared leadership will attract your BEC members and you will find new leaders in the making!
On my part, I too look around for leaders and volunteers from the BECs and also among the weekend congregation who can really do the work of serving and caring for one another in the life of the Church, without having been given a title. Every now and then I do try to identify potential leaders and pray to the Lord that He will provide individuals to come forward to render service to the Church.
Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) is not another ministry or organisation but it is the Church at the grassroots. The members are considered as a new way of “being Church”. Every ordinary Catholic is called to be disciples of hope and to actively participate in the life and mission of the Church and to live in the spirit of the Gospel.
Fr. George Packiasamy