More than 3,500 Catholic leaders - lay women, lay men, religious, priests and bishops - met in Orlando, July 1-4, 2017.  In preparation, Leadership Roundtable convened more than 100 Catholic leaders to explore best practices in developing Catholic leaders.  That convening resulted in a key statement on the formation of Catholic leaders as missionary disciples. Please reflect upon this statement, share it with others, and consider how you might implement its contents in your own ministry setting.


Building upon a framework of empowered humility and creativity in ministry, participants outlined a vision of leaders as missionary disciples grounded in authenticity, joy, relationship, and attention to those at the margins.

“This statement encapsulates why promoting and implementing managerial and leadership best practices goes hand-in-hand with serving as missionary disciples,” says Kim Smolik, CEO of Leadership Roundtable. “We cannot be effective at going to the periphery if we do not have a set of tools to manage and lead well when doing so.”

You are invited to use this Discussion Forum to continue to exchange best practices and share resources. In the coming weeks and months, Leadership Roundtable will provide further resources for each of the 10 essential elements identified for the development of Catholic leaders. 


Views: 268

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Love the Leadership Rountable statement here! So many are filled with the Holy Spirit and full of goodwill and charity for all, yet run into human frustration and stumble because of unhealthy organizational cultures and limited leadership/management frameworks. 

What resources are key to share? To be honest, I think there are lots of great frameworks, speakers, and books that can help ministry teams grow in leadership and management traits, so I hesitate to name one over others. What's most important, I think are to: 

  1. Do it together. It's got to be the top leader or pastor and other key leaders--not just one trying to change or learn.
  2. Get outside accountability, mentoring, or training. Having an external "check" is like that personal trainer at the gym--yes, we all know we can run 4 miles on the treadmill, but having someone to make sure you stay with it when it's tough can be so helpful. It can also help a ministry team see themselves more clearly. 
  3. Commit to finding/retaining people willing to grow, learn, and change. Without this, even the best leadership framework and coaching will yield only limited results. 

In Christ,

Colleen Vermeulen

Twitter: @EvangelToolbox

3 helpful, practical suggestions from Colleen.  Many thanks!  We will send you a copy of Volume 1 of A Pastor's Toolbox as a reward for being the first person to respond!

It would be great to hear from people what experience you have in implementing Colleen's three elements.

For example, Leadership Roundtable recently presented a Best Practice Award to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the best practices the Archdiocese has modeled is having key leaders (Archbishop, Auxiliary bishops, chancery leaders, deans, pastors, etc) in the first cohort of various leadership formation efforts. For example, you can read Archbishop Listecki's reflection on the Catholic Leadership 360 process here

Fantastic comments, Colleen! 

I love how the Statement includes ministering to those on the Margins. So often today our Church is neglecting those on the Margins because it is simply inconvenient to them!! A,return to reaching out to the disenfranchised and/or marginally enfranchised will go a long way to restoring the Church to her historical mission.

Many thanks, Harry. Ministering to those on the margins, and indeed, including them in leadership, was a central theme of our own convening and also of the US Bishops' convocation.

I look forward to others sharing who they see "on the peripheries" and what approaches they have found successful for reaching out to, encountering, and accompanying them. Listening would appear to be a primary approach!


I appreciated statement #5, Commitment to engage women, youth & young adults in meaningful leadership. 

It was striking that my diocesan delegation only included 4 women (of 15 reps). 

I want to be a part of encouraging younger women in my diocese to persevere in lay ecclesial ministry through: 

  • helping them identify professional development opportunities and advanced degrees in theology
  • recommending them for diocesan committee & board service
  • offering them opportunities to come and speak at our campus ministry center to help them hone their presentation abilities
  • find a way to come together for networking opportunities

Thanks for your practical suggestions, Katie.  Does your diocese provide the "professional development opportunities" that you mention?  Leadership Roundtable encourages dioceses to invest in such development opportunities for both lay and ordained leaders.  Please let us know what sort of opportunities are provided so that other dioceses might consider offering something similar.

There are some prof dev opportunities in our dioceses for lay ministers. We recently had several rounds of Called and Gifted seminars & interviewer training.

I am thinking more of national level ministry specific conventions (CCMA, NFCYM, NPM, etc), which often require travel and funding, but offer top notch formation. New lay ministers often don't even know that these national organizations exist to offer support, ideas, formation, mentoring, retreats, etc.

This is a great statement, hitting the major issues.  Thanks once again for your good work in organizing!  

A few points:

1. The commitment to leadership in a multicultural and multilingual world is very important, but it must also translate into representation that reflects the actual diversity of the Church.  Leadership numbers have still not caught up to the demographics.  Educational disparities and cultural bias remain a barrier to this.  For example, were 40% or more of the people gathered in Orlando Hispanic?

2. The commitment to leadership in a multicultural and multilingual world must address the need for power sharing among groups in the Church.  The Anglo/Euro-American plurality must not be thought of as the "mainstream" or normative group but as one cultural group among many.  This provokes a healthy identity crisis for Anglo Catholics.  If you are looking for a model, consider how the USCCB's Cultural Diversity Convocation at Notre Dame did this some years ago.

3. Lay leadership in the Church suffers from a middle management problem.  National Catholic organizations and the USCCB recognize and support it, but locally power is invested in pastors and parish priests, who sometimes resist encouraging lay leadership (or refuse to take lay leaders seriously).  How can we help parish priests to see the value and not be threatened by lay leadership?

Thanks for your comments, Brett.  Your research and practical work in this area of theology and ministry is an inspiration for our work.  

1. By my estimation, unfortunately neither Leadership Roundtable's convening for the USCCB Convocation had 40% or more Hispanic representation.  And that is despite a deliberate effort over multiple years to achieve it.  I was encouraged that there was promotion of the Fifth Encuentro and that it was emphasized that this is a process for ALL parishioners and an opportunity to develop emerging leaders especially within the Hispanic community.

2. I am seeing an increasing emphasis on building intercultural competencies for all those in ministry - using exactly the model and approach that you suggest. I know we as a staff benefited when we participated in such training with the USCCB staff.  Even as we formulated the statement on formation, we were conscious of the danger of categorizing as "we" and "others"; when of course, we are all "we".

3. We agree that formation of pastors and parish priests in a model of "shared responsibility" is vital. Leadership Roundtable provides such training opportunities and resources. We also begin early through our work in seminaries.  We have also found that when we can provide formation to parish teams, priests and lay leaders together, it is most effective.  What approaches or resources have you found effective in such formation?


© 2019   Created by Peter Denio.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service