Online Articles

Battling Discouragement

About 10 years ago while working at a parish I came into my pastor’s office upset. The project I had been working on for months was falling apart. I was counting on the efforts of several volunteers who had done a poor job, and then quit. Left with too many things unfinished I was ready to give up... Read more

Nones, meet the Outs

Much has been said of late about the "Nones"—those who claim no religious affiliation at all. Certainly Catholic parishes (and dioceses, movements, apostolates etc.) must become more adept at engaging the Nones, at reaching out to them in fulfillment of the Great Commission that Jesus gives us all... Read more

Pastor Teams and Cooking Wasps

We commonly use the “silo” analogy, which refers to leaders and the departments they oversee working in isolation from other leaders and departments within an organization. This is a common, harmful problem. At best it results in weak communication and poor collaboration. At worst it leads to... Read more

Humble, Hungry and Smart

What qualities make people good members of a team? In other words, what personal virtues are conducive to working with others to accomplish goals? The answer to this question should be as important to a parish or other Catholic institution as it is to a Fortune 500 company. That’s why we spend a... Read more

Is Consensus Overrated? (Spoiler Alert: Yes!)

“Good leaders always achieve consensus.” I still hear this occasionally in some circles. Not to sound like a consensus-basher, but many good leaders throughout history (including today) are more focused on clarity, communication and implementing reasonable plans well-devised than seeing complete... Read more

Prioritizing in a Culture of Fast

Things move quickly in today's society. Technology has made it possible for us to communicate, travel, and access information faster than ever before. Rather than capturing a few important moments from time-to-time, now, many of us take hundreds of pictures a month. Almost every time I take a... Read more

The Thrill of a Good Meeting

Do you like meetings? …Is that a dumb question? I used to dread meetings, but now I look forward to our diocesan “Education and Formation” team meeting as one of the best parts of my week. I’m serious…but allow me to explain the “before” and “after.” It used to be that all the office heads for our... Read more

An Experience of the Fruitful Pain of Correction

Earlier this year, I experienced the power of painful feedback. Our team of consultants conducted a two-day training session of several parish leadership teams, and I was one of the main presenters. As a part of this exercise, our team would huddle up during breaks and offer feedback on the process... Read more

Is Your Mission Statement Helpful?

Mission statements. Most organizations have one. Few groups use theirs regularly. This article is not anti-mission-statement. Rather, it suggests a helpful distinction between statements of mission on the one hand and core purpose statements on the other. Brief. Compelling. Yawn-Proof. A statement... Read more

Humility, Mediocrity, and Leadership

In his recently published book, The Better Pastor , Patrick Lencioni presents a short fable on how leadership principles can help pastors “think about their ‘jobs’ a little differently.” Essentially, he is boldly inviting priests, and lay leaders by extension, to improve their ability to lead... Read more