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Posted May 31, 2006

Policy Implications for Parish Management

From a study of parish management by Dr. Charles Zech, Director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University

Policy Implications:

Pastors need training in leadership which they feel is important but for which they are relatively unprepared. This training could occur in the seminary or, more likely, as continuing education after ordination. At a minimum, it should occur before a priest assumes his first pastorate.

Pastors need less training in specific administrative skills, but should have enough of a background to perform their governing office as required in Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in Sacred Ministry of Priests. Again, this might be acquired through continuing education.

Even parish business managers feel themselves to be inadequately prepared for many of the administrative and leadership tasks which they are called upon to perform. This is not surprising, since many of them come to their positions without formal business background. The ministry of parish business manager needs to be professionalized.

Confirming other research, parish business managers tend to disregard the spiritual aspects of their positions. But if they are to serve in a faith-based community, they need to possess a certain degree of spirituality. This needs to be a criterion for the position as much as technical business skills are a criterion.