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A Simple Parish Management Tool for Priests

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31)

The example provided here describes how a priest can professionally manage all aspects of fundraising in his parish. However, the tool may be adapted to any parish management practice – programs and ministries management, volunteer management, staff management, office management, a capital campaign, parish council development, evangelization-church growth or a strategic planning process.

Though some may scoff with incredulity, the author wonders if it wouldn’t be possible to actually apply this to the overall spiritual development of the parish. The tool allows both general oversight of all relevant aspects of managing some element of parish activity as well as detailed descriptions of tasks followed by evaluation. This approach to management allows a priest to work both “in” the parish in the completion of sacerdotal and pastoral tasks and also to work “on” the parish utilizing the best practices of professional nonprofit development

Six primary managerial functions are employed:

Analysis: Research, gather information, evaluate data, ask questions, apply SWOP (What are our strengths and weaknesses and what are the opportunities and threats concerning this activity?)

Planning: What is our roadmap? How will we get there? What are the timelines, the tasks and the benchmarks?

Execution: What happens when the plan is implemented?

Control: Follow up, ensuring tasks are satisfactorily completed against deadlines – stepping back to monitor the overall process

Evaluation: Measuring outcomes and progress, feedback, tweaking, adjustments

Professional/Ethical Dimension: Are our motives, actions and methods consonant with the gospel? Are we using the best practices of professional nonprofit organization development? Is our objectivity tempered by compassion? Are we enabling poor functionality and unacceptable behavior because churches don’t fire people or replace willing but incapable or rude volunteers? If we are enabling poor performance then we are not being good stewards of the resources that the parish has entrusted to us.

In the Excel chart the vertical column on the far left lists the resources that must be managed. Only the basics are listed. Other items may be added as your unique situation requires. As an example, the first item entitled “Mission, Vision and Values Statements” is developed for you.


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