A healthy parish clearly understands that its reason for existence is to serve the Living God and to share its love of God with others. This vision provides a foundation for how it behaves, how it presents itself to its neighbors and what it truly values. The vision is based on a realistic context that integrates its past, its assets, strengths, limitations and environment. It includes a clear interest in growth and replicating itself.
Consider the following questions as you work to strengthen your parish vision:
- What are the elements of a useful vision for our parish? What questions should a parish vision answer?
- Who in the parish should be involved in defining a vision?
- Who are the stakeholders" in our vision? Who does our parish vision impact?
- How do we keep discussions and efforts about visions and purpose from being hopelessly general or overly specific?
- How is a “parish vision” different from a “dream”? From a “plan”?
- Do we have multiple competing visions in our parish? If so why?
- Are we as a community “on the way to somewhere”? Is it where we want to go? Where God wants us to go?
- How essential is “planning” and setting priorities as part of God’s church?
This section provides articles tools and templates that can help your parish to clarify where you want to head --what you want to look like in the future.
When considering new ideas and initiatives in the parish a set of core values becomes the bedrock upon which future visions of ministry are founded. In fact it could be said that parish values are the building blocks of parish vision --the parameters that define boundaries of the vision and the driving force behind the vision.
Parishes need to have a defined concept of their future. What they want to be like in 3, 5 or 10 or more years. Without that a parish on a plateau or in early decline can feel helpless and without direction. Yet, such discussions are difficult they become vague and wander.
Perhaps this exercise can help you to bring focus and enegy to the conversation.
"Who are we and what are we about" is a key question that needs to be front and center for all parishes with a future. Not every moment in time requires big picture conversations, but occasionally it is time to review where we've been and where we're heading. And, since the rear view mirror always seems clearer than the windshield - this isn't easy.
This article offers multiple ideas for how to conduct a productive conversation on a this often difficult topic.
What does the neighborhood think or know about your parish? Would neighbors like to have a conversation with you? Do they see your parish as colorful" but not particularly frindly or hospitable? Has the parish achieved a mysterious, mystical status?
The article found here may provide some insight.
Looking to prepare for an anticipated clergy retirement? This article provides insights from four senior priests on what qualities they would look for in a new parish.
See article here.