One of the trips I went on was to Europe with Our Lady of Lourdes choir when I was in Pittsburg, KS. It was a great trip but it was a huge amount of work organizing it. In fact, some trips are so much work that people hire guides to plan the trip.
So why am I talking about trips? Well, last year we arrived at a new parish vision: to invite the people to become disciples of Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the Gospel and inclusion within the parish family. But that has gotten us only so far. Having a vision is like a family knowing they want to go on a trip. Neat idea! But the question is: who is going to organize it? Organizing a trip takes a lot of work: arriving at a schedule, finding transportation, packing clothes, financing the trip, and responding to all of the unforeseen details that keep cropping up.
Well this is where we are in implementing the parish vision: delegating leadership to organize the vision into action. Over the past summer the parish councils have done a lot of work and dialogue to match their structure to the needs of the parish vision. Much was communicated about our parish councils: parishioners wanted more transparency, new methods of finding leadership, questions of term limits, definition of responsibilities and the like. So the first thing the councils have done in response to the parish vision was review their structure to begin delegating responsibilities to implement the vision.
As a result a few new things are happening. First, we now have five parish councils: Pastoral Council, Stewardship Council, Operations (Finance and Facility) Council, School Council, and Communications Council. A new Communications Council has been started to facilitate greater transparency and to streamline the various avenues of information to our parish. Second, we are clarifying the key responsibilities of each council and discussing how each council operates in tandem with the others. Third, we are updating the organizational chart of the Pastoral Council to ensure that the feedback received concerning our various ministries are respected.
Finally, we are changing the way in which the five councils will meet. All five councils will now meet once a month on the second Thursday of a month for two hours. The first hour we will all meet together as a group to receive the necessary information about the parish. The second hour each council will meet individually to discuss their particular responsibility for that information. We hope this will significantly increase collaboration and streamline implementation.
You see, it is one thing to want to go on a trip. It is another thing to organize one. In the same way, it is one thing to have a parish vision. It is another to organize it. By updating our parish leadership councils we hope to take the next best step forward in making our vision a reality.