In the previous edition of Fr Nino’s Corner I spoke about Parish Pastoral Planning.
A parish pastoral plan can be like ‘a key to the door’ for new members of the PPC or indeed any parishioner. It clearly outlines what the goals and aspirations of the parish are, where its priorities lie (and why). It also unfolds a step-by-step blueprint as to where the parish ‘is at’ and where it intends ‘to be’. It orients new members to the PPC in a way that activates their interest and engagement.
But of course, the benefit of a parish pastoral plan goes way beyond the benefit to any one individual because a plan ultimately serves the wider parish community and is instrumental in continuing the vison of building the Kingdom of God. Plans provide purpose and direction and are an invitation to ‘hop on the bus’ and take the journey to strengthening and revitalising your parish.
People will want to contribute to their parish plan when the purpose is clear and relevant and they feel their personal contribution will enhance their faith community. People do not generally commit to something which seems haphazard, poorly thought out or executed. At the very least their interest wanes easily. Remember many families and people are time poor but will contribute when they think their contribution will be of value (as well as valued). A good plan will help identify where peoples’ talents and energies can be harnessed for the best outcomes.
From a parish community perspective, a parish plan can excite and galvanise a community especially if it truly reflects the desires and concerns of the parish and is realistic and grounded in what the parish is able to achieve. People also respond positively when there is hope of making a difference in people’s lives. In this sense a pastoral plan provides the hope around which the community can gather and form.
Some of our parishes are blessed with strong vibrant communities and others not. Pastoral planning will serve all sorts of parish communities as long as the plan is relevant and within the parish’s capacity to achieve. No one likes to fail and failure breeds despondency. A plan will keep you on track and when you reach milestones there will be reason to celebrate or alternatively, you will be able to take stock, and rather than give up, find another way to reach your goal.
Remember a pastoral plan is there to assist and guide you, and is well worth the effort required to develop it.