CHICAGO--Participants of the Chicago Regional Roundtable on Church management, finance, and human resource development praised the opportunity to meet in small working groups to discuss challenges facing the Church, and, more importantly, offer ideas on how to overcome them.
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Among the challenges, some participants noted that some disconnect exists between those who work primarily in the Church and those in business and other fields who want to assist Church leaders with temporal affairs. Some Church professionals said that while they possess some management skills, that there is a tremendous need for continuing education and professional development. There was general consensus that the graying of Church personnel presented certain challenges, and that the problems faced in the traditional centers of Catholicism in the US, largely the Northeast, are quite different from those faced in the expanding dioceses in the Southwest. Related, participants wondered if the growing communities of Latino Catholics and white Catholics share a common ecclesial language or experience. Participants asked if the Church is investing in people, or relying to strongly on volunteers who mean well but may lack the expertise to act effectively.
Affirming the menu of resources offered by the Leadership Roundtable to address these challenges, participants also spent time crafting their own ideas. Included were:
- Connecting young people to parishes by offering meaningful leadership roles
- Embracing best human resources practices to make Catholic institutions the employer of choice
- Create a common language that connects business leaders with Church leaders
- Share best practices across dioceses
- Reexamine current programs and nonprofits to see how they might reboot themselves to meet new challenges
- Expanding the Toolbox for Pastoral Management model to serve other cohorts
- Critically examine parish culture to allow parish staff to offer a truly welcoming community
The ideas above are only a small sample of the many thoughtful solutions offered. Over the coming weeks and months, the Leadership Roundtable will work with Regional Roundtable participants and incorporate findings into current programs, ask some to consider serving on committees or leading initiatives, and continue to utilize their great resource of talent and insight.
About the Leadership Roundtable: The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization of laity, religious, and clergy working together to promote excellence and best practices in the management, finances, and human resource development of the Catholic Church in the U.S. through the greater incorporation of the expertise of the laity. For more information, please visit www.TheLeadershipRoundtable.org.