A friend of mine who works in a parish recently asked me to help him assess how well his parish was doing in regard to what it learned during the Amazing Parish Conference. I responded by asking him a series of questions which provides something of a self-assessment for any parish leadership team, whether they’ve attended the conference or not, I suppose. Ask yourselves these questions:
Question #1: Are you clear who is on your leadership team? If not, if you still think of everyone on staff as part of the team, then it’s extremely hard to implement the concepts outlined at the conference. Why is that? Because the three main concepts – prayer, organizational health, evangelization & discipleship – must be embraced by the leadership team before they can take root in the rest of the parish, office included. Remember, the leadership team is a small group, 3 to 8 people based on the size of the parish, that shares the responsibility of running the parish on a daily basis with the pastor, although always under his authority.
Question #2: Is your team praying regularly together, for one another and for the specific needs of the parish? If the team is not taking its challenges and desires to God and asking for His assistance, it can’t possibly be having the impact it wants to have. Remember when Jesus told us to “ask, seek and knock?” He meant it. Make sure you’re praying regularly about the decisions you’re making and the initiatives you’re undertaking, always asking God for His guidance.
Question 3: Is your team having regular meetings focused on the priorities for the parish, the ones you set as a team? Without discipline around meetings, the team cannot build a culture of progress and accountability. This one is so easy to dispose of, as everyone wants to avoid meetings. And it takes a few months to get into the right rhythm. But without great meetings, great decisions cannot be made and important questions can’t be answered. For instance: Who should we hire? Who needs more management attention? How should we spend our precious resources? How are homilies? What programs are working and need to grow? What programs aren’t working and need to improve or be cut? Meetings are where these questions are answered, where discussions are held and where great decisions come from.
Question 4: Is discipleship a constant theme of conversation during meetings? If making disciples is the focus of parish life, then it will be at the forefront of many discussions and meetings. Leaders will talk about and celebrate the addition of even one new disciple in the parish. They’ll talk about what’s working and what’s not working. And they’ll be working hard to disciple one another.
If the answer to the four questions above is a resounding ‘yes,’ I’m guessing your parish is on its way to becoming amazing. If not, that’s okay. Use this checklist to spark the right conversations about what you need to review on the Amazing Parish website and where you can improve as a team. But please understand that I’m not claiming that the end goal of a great parish is having a leadership team, praying regularly, running meetings and talking about discipleship. Those are merely tools. Ultimately, the greatest evidence of an amazing parish will be more and more people coming to know Jesus through the sacraments, fellowship, outreach and formation, and more people helping others know Him. But without clarity and consistency around leadership, management and meetings, and without constant prayer, those things will be much more difficult, if not impossible. God bless you in the work you’re doing.
Pat Lencioni | Co-founder
The Amazing Parish
For more information on what a parish leadership team looks like, click here.
For more information and resources on intentional prayer, click here.
For more information on effective and engaging meetings, click here.
For more information and tools on discipleship, click here.