Something remarkably simple happened recently, and I want to share it with every parish in the world.
I was at a convocation of priests recently where a handful of pastors who had attended The Amazing Parish conference presented to their peers many of the practices that their teams had adopted to improve their parishes. Those presentations blew me away and confirmed for me that there are indeed extraordinary parishes spread around North America, and I’m sure, the world.
But the content of those presentations, as impressive as it was, is not what I want to share with you. What truly amazed me was what happened next. After the presentations ended, a pastor in the audience who I will call Fr. George (because that’s his name) stood up and explained to his brother priests, “I took my entire leadership team to visit two of these parishes. We spent an entire day with them, learning what they are doing. We are now adopting some of their practices, and changing some to better suit our needs. It’s really helping us.”
Immediately I realized how much sense it makes for one parish leadership team to intentionally and actively learn from another, and how rarely that seems to happen. In fact, I had never heard of it before. I’m not talking about picking up the phone to ask a question of a neighboring parish, or even a meeting between one ministry and another. I’m talking about a field trip of discovery and learning, born out of an intense desire to improve and the humility of realizing that we can learn from one another.
Aside from the specific learning that took place during this field trip, what amazed me was the enthusiasm and graciousness that I saw in the pastors who were sharing their best practices with Fr. George and his team. Of course, those parishes learned plenty from Fr. George, but more importantly, there was a sense that they felt they were part of a larger Church, one team working together to bring people to Christ. This was a genuine display of love between two teams who want to help one another.
And so my question is this: could your parish benefit from a field trip to an amazing parish near you? Or could you invite another parish to learn from you? Is there something that prevents more of us from doing that, something that we need to address? Imagine what would happen if every amazing parish were willing to teach – and to learn from – the best parishes around them. I think it could change the world.
Pat Lencioni | Co-founder
The Amazing Parish