“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:18)
Planning is common. Effective strategic action is rare.
There is always talk of planning in parish life. The annual operating budget is a form of planning. Of necessity, parishes plan for their festival. Occasionally, a priest will prepare an annual calendar for parishioners identifying key liturgical events as well as parish activities. Parishes undertake planning studies before launching a capital campaign. Some forward-thinking parishes have long-range planning committees on the parish council. What is far less common is effectively acting on the plan. Thinking and dreaming is relatively easy. Well organized and properly executed strategic action is far more challenging. Yet this is the critical difference between a parish that is at the mercy and whim of demographic, economic, political, sociological, theological and environmental forces and those parishes that exercise a preferred choice of what the parish looks like five years from now.
The article below, by an expert strategic planner for nonprofits, Sam Frank, addresses this issue. The size of the font below makes it difficult to read but a PDF version of the article with larger font may be downloaded here: Sam Frank Strategic Action
The PDF version of the file, which is printable and has larger font for ease of reading is available here: Sam Frank Strategic Action