August 2012 Blog Posts (9)

Can We Talk?

In an effort to build shorter posts, this is a “Part 1” posting about the “Second Thing Pastoral Staffs Won’t Say.” Actually, many of them did say it, but in coded language. Once our parish consultants gained their trust, nearly every team admitted: “We could communicate a lot better than we do.” Often what they meant was, “We don’t handle conflict very well.” And for the record, some staffs came right out with it: “We haven’t learned how to fight fair!”

People working daily in parish…


Added by Daniel Gast on August 31, 2012 at 1:47pm — 2 Comments

Thank you, Dan!

What a pleasure to read Dan's fine article and to know that he continues to serve as an ecclesial lay minister in our Church! We first met years ago (in our youth), and Dan impressed me with his faith and creative energy. Having experienced the loss of many friends in Church ministry in these challenging times, I am encouraged to learn that Dan is hanging in there and is as thoughful and creative as ever! Fr. Tom Ivory

Added by Thomas P. ivory on August 24, 2012 at 9:17pm — 1 Comment

The One Thing

Please tell Daniel Gast that BUSY is an acronmyn that stands for



Added by Claude Saldanha on August 24, 2012 at 7:04pm — No Comments

You Won't Say!

When our project leaders discussed how to introduce our findings to people in the Chicago Church, we crafted a teaser title, “One Thing the Pastor and Staff Will Always Tell You, and Three Things They Won’t.” The “one thing” was about being busy, the “three things” were connected to that expressed need to be working, doing, performing.

The first “won’t” was any admission about the feeble condition of their spiritual lives. Pastoral people spend their days and nights ministering…


Added by Daniel Gast on August 24, 2012 at 3:00pm — 2 Comments

Who is YOUR "Accountability Partner"?

The new Pro Football season will soon be upon us.  Whether or not you follow sport or the NFL in particular, you are likely to have heard of Tim Tebow; perhaps the most famous back-up quarterback of all time!  An article in USA Today contains the usual celebrity content but what caught my attention was Tebow describing a friend who acts as his "accountability partner"

"My friend doesn't tell me what I want to hear. He tells me what I need to hear, and that's…


Added by Michael Brough on August 15, 2012 at 12:19pm — No Comments

The One Thing


During INSPIRE’s work with over fifty pastoral leadership teams in the Archdiocese of Chicago, we developed a number of key findings about pastors and staffs. One set of findings uncovered personal and group dynamics that either build or block collaborative expressions of pastoral leadership. We expected what rose to the top as the most pervasive finding, so much so that we tended to look past it for more “interesting” outcomes. But the project’s first visiting research professor,…


Added by Daniel Gast on August 13, 2012 at 12:47pm — 2 Comments

Who Are These People?

Overview: Parish Staffs and Pastoral Leadership Teams

The “parish staff,” the “pastoral leadership team”: who are these people? In most U.S. dioceses, it’s possible to give a different answer for nearly every parish. Most parishes have a pastor, though some may have a designated or canonical pastor who lives outside the parish and may supervise the parish administrators or pastoral ministers of several parishes. Many parishes are served by ordained deacons, who may serve on the…


Added by Daniel Gast on August 7, 2012 at 2:37pm — No Comments

Getting to Mission, A Conversation About Pastoral Leadership

Parishes should have well-defined mission statements, and their ministry programs should effectively and efficiently work toward achieving these mission statements.

NLRCM Standards for Excellence, Mission Statement and Ministry Program


As Director of INSPIRE at the Archdiocese of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago, I am privileged to serve pastors and staffs who collaborate and grow healthy expressions of parish mission.  INSPIRE is a…


Added by Daniel Gast on August 1, 2012 at 11:12am — 6 Comments

The role of pastoral staff must change from "doers" of ministry to facilitators of others

There can be a tendency in Catholic parishes for the assembly to rely too heavily on staff, both ordained and lay.  When the inevitable transitions occur--either through normal personnel changes or restricted budgets--it becomes all too apparent that ministry is the work of the assembly and that the role of staff is to facilitate that role rather than do ministry directly.  This can be a difficult change for both staff and assembly, one for which most pastoral staff members have not been…


Added by Bill Pickett on August 1, 2012 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

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