“Let the elders that govern well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” (I Timothy 5:17)
Sometime priests complain that their parish councils are quarrelsome or do-nothings with a watch dog mentality. They comment that they intrude in the administration or management of the parish and that they do not set good examples in giving or model volunteer commitment. They treat the priest as though he is merely the employee of the parish and concern themselves endlessly with small talk about small matters. Parish councils sometimes complain similarly about their priest. He is uncommunicative and unresponsive to parish council members’ requests for information or reports. Parish programs languish or the office is not performing well. Both parties would majorly benefit from an ongoing professional parish council or board development process. These are highly sophisticated enterprises taught at many eminent universities and institutions. Yet even with modest understandings and application, much good can be reaped from this methodology that holds the potential to re-orient and redirect the attention and energy of governance.
It is critically important that the priest understands and masters this process. Why the priest? Parish council members typically turn over every few years. Jurisdictional bylaws often require this to blunt the occasional effort of a few families to dominate a parish. So it is the priest, who understanding the board development process, brings continuity and consistency to the effort. It takes knowledge and experience to gently apply a process that has the potential to bring enormous benefits to parish and to the governing body. This must be done in concert with the chairperson of the parish council.
PowerPoint as a PDF: Parish Council Development