Enabling Parish Leadership
The people of the parish deserve to hear what the parish leadership is doing. Giving reports is a good way to achieve this goal.
As a parish leader, you work hard on projects that demand detailed attention. At times, you may feel like the world is closing in on you. Parishioners do not always understand the kind of work leaders do. Sometimes even the leaders get lost in the muddle. It is easy to lose your way and to feel resentment that no one understands the importance of your work.
Giving reports to the parish will help leaders focus on what is really important to their work and to the needs of the people. What do people most need to know about your work? Knowing that may reconnect you with the central purpose of the work you do.
There are many ways to give reports to the parish.
· Email updates once a month. Keep the message brief, but let people know some highlights.
· Keep a page on the internet up-to-date. Many organizations have websites, but not all of them keep them current. Set aside some time each month to get a current update on your part of the work.
· Snail mail the information. This is more expensive, but it will reach a larger number of people and give them something physical to see. Sometimes holding a report makes it feel more important than seeing it in electronic format.
Or, give a verbal report. This can be a very effective means of communicating what is going on. The time and place can vary. When are people gathering at church? If some social event is coming up, ask for a slot to make announcements. Be present for events that attract groups you may not always see, and share the good news of your work with them.
The most effective time to give reports is Sunday mass. On Sunday, the entire community has gathered for worship. They have also gathered to be sent forth. The announcements that follow the prayer after communion are important bits of information that help the community understand how they can put their faith into action in the week ahead.
On occasion, a longer announcement – a report – may be worthwhile. If you have an important event coming up, if you need people’s support for a cause you are promoting, or if you just want people to see your face and know who you are and why they might call on you, the Sunday service is the best place to be.
If a report is to be given on Sunday, it should share time with the regular parish announcements. The assembly may be seated. Keep the report brief – it needs to be shorter than the homily. But make it informative. Let people know what is going on, how they fit, and what you do.
By reporting your work to the entire people of God, you will reconnect your ministry with the mission of the parish.This article first appeared in ParishWorks: Idea Source for Parish Leaders and Decision Makers 8/5 (May/June 2005):3.