Introduction
Introduction
Collaborative Leadership
Clear Path to Discipleship
Culture of Generosity

The Big Goal

By 2026, each parish in the Archdiocese of Omaha will be a Missional Community.

 

Why Do We Have The Big Goal?
Four years ago, Archbishop Lucas invited the Archdiocese of Omaha to embrace the vision of being One Church: Encountering Jesus, Equipping Disciples, and Living Mercy. While substantial progress has been made toward realizing the vision, the Lord continues to invite us into a deeper commitment. Because, in the words of Archbishop Lucas, “The vision is not a project so much as a hope, of the kind of church we can be, the people that we are called to be in Jesus Christ and in our time.”

But, “We are experiencing a diminishment. If we are going to move into the future, cooperating with grace, we need to know the world we are living in and be honest about what our current efforts are yielding as a harvest.”

And so, as Fr. Scott Hastings said in the EquipCast: 3 Key Characteristics of a Missional Community, “We can either keep doing what we're doing now, and go “out of business”, or we can change some of the things we're doing and see if we can't respond…as the Lord is asking us to do in an authentic Catholic way. …So, we have three particular characteristics that we're outlining for a missional community: 1) collaborative leadership, 2) a clear path of discipleship, and 3) a culture of generosity."
What is a Missional Community?
“We look at the word missional, and it means to be sent. We think of the initial sending in the church: Jesus giving what we call the great commission or the great mission to his first disciples, but really to all of us down through the ages… So missional communities will be outward-looking and concerned about what it means to be a parish beyond self-preservation – doing the life of the parish in a different way, in a way that really allows the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of his death and resurrection to sort of burst out of the bounds of the parish, burst out of the organizational structures of the parish, to have an influence on the greater community around us.”

– Archbishop Lucas, EquipCast 35: Archbishop Lucas on The Big Goal

Collaborative Leadership

Collaborative leadership is the full co-responsibility of the clergy and the laity in the mission of spreading the kingdom of Christ.
This responsibility applies to both the day to day tasks of running a parish and its various missions as well as the task of evangelization by rejuvenating the call in each of the baptized to go on mission.

Start small by gathering specific leaders to pray and discern God’s vision for your parish.
Discern a Leadership Team
Ephesians 4:12 tells us that pastors are called “to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry”. And so, Collaborative Leadership applies to all ministries across the parish. However, the first step to making this a reality is a leadership team for the pastor because:
  1. The pastor and his key leaders will be better able to model and coach others to collaborative leadership if they first have an experience of it for themselves.
  2. As assignments become more complex, a pastor’s attention is taken away from his capacity to shepherd. Having a leadership team allows him to share the ordinary tasks of running a parish so that he can begin “equipping the saints”.
Discerning allows you to intentionally invite the Lord into this process of building a team. There are many options for discernment and we encourage you to employ any that you are practiced in. But, a few tools that we recommend are also listed below.
  1. Forming a Leadership Team Document - This document outlines the practical realities that should be considered when forming a leadership team.
  2. Small group - Invite potential team members to participate. This can serve as a trial run where you can get to know your leaders better and observer their commitment to even a short term series of meetings.
    • Pray a Discernment Rosary for the individuals that you might invite to a book study or eventually to a proto-leadership team. Conversations with the Lord and those invited are a practical discernment, and so this rosary lets you hear from the Lord and provides a concrete way to pray about who to invite.
    • Host a weekly study with all potential members of your leadership team. We recommend the book Pope Francis and the Joy of the Gospel: Rediscovering the Heart of a Disciple by Edward Sri.
Take the Collaborative Leadership Assessment

This assessment was built to help a pastor and his team consider how their parish already embodies the characteristics of Collaborative Leadership and to identify potential areas of growth.

It is most useful when the pastor and at least 5 parish leaders take it. We recommend that this be a pastor and his leadership team. If you do not have a leadership team, potential parish leaders include other clergy, parish/finance council members, parish/school staff, ministry leaders, volunteers with influence, or anyone the Holy Spirit places on your heart.

Steps:
  1. Send this Assessment link to all chosen leaders. We recommend you give them a deadline by which to take the assessment.
  2. Schedule a 1.5 hour follow-up meeting to discuss the results.
  3. Take a look at the Discussion Guide, and plan your meeting.
  4. Print a copy of the assessment results and discussion guide for each team member and bring them to the meeting.
    1. Results can be found here. (Choose your parish from the dropdown box at the top left.)
    2. If you pastor multiple parishes and it is likely that your leaders identified themselves as from different parishes, then contact Andy Dejka for your combined results.
Note: This assessment is not a test! It is a resource to help foster conversation around areas of strength/weakness in your parish.
Team Meetings

Great team meetings are fun and energizing. They lead to better decisions, and team members are more likely to be committed to and feel accountable for the success of those decisions.

One of the best resources we have found is Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. While the book is short and easy to digest here’s a four page handout summary as well. As this resource was built for the secular corporate world, parish teams will also want to add a team retreat to their meeting schedule. Additionally, team retreats can be combined with the quarterly off-site described in the book.

Another addition to the meetings described is team prayer. In Christifideles Laici, Pope St. John Paul II tells us, “Communion with Jesus, which gives rise to the communion of Christians among themselves, is an indispensable condition for bearing fruit.” We have seen intentional time spent in prayer at the beginning of each meeting lead to increased trust among team members as well as a more confident discernment of God’s will. While the form of prayer your team adopts can vary, we recommend that you strive to embody the principles laid out in the article Principles of Team Prayer.

Investing in Your Leaders

Helping your key leaders grow takes regular contact and time. You can provide support for them in several ways:

As a team: Every team goes through recognizable stages as it develops. Read about these stages in The Stages of Group Development, and then take the article to your team. Ask, “What stage is the team in?” and try out the action that we recommend teams take in order to move into the next stage.

As a manager: Good leaders very often need a great manager to help them thrive and develop their ministries. Great managers capitalize on the individual strengths of their leaders by investing personally in each of them. To understand this concept more, and to hear some tips on how to invest in your leaders as a manager, check out The One Thing the Best Team Builders Do.

As individuals: Another way to invest personally in each of your leaders is to choose 1-3 key leaders that you would like to see grow over the next year. Establish a recurring meeting time to talk about their ministry and to share the leadership skills that you are learning.

Clear Path to Discipleship

How does our parish make disciples? Where do people in our parish experience conversion and then grow in their relationship with Jesus? Are we ready to receive people at any point in the journey at any time of the year? These questions show us the need for a clear path of discipleship.

We are asking pastors and their gathered leaders to discern and build a clear pathway for individuals at every stage of the discipleship journey.

When a community has outlined a simple itinerary for spiritual growth, individuals can more easily take their next steps toward a deeper relationship with Christ.

Thank you for your patience
This webpage is a work in progress. We want to provide the best resources in a simple and actionable manner and will update the Clear Path to Discipleship soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Andy Dejka.

Culture of Generosity

Parishes that focus on encounter with Jesus and the life of discipleship experience a natural overflow of gratitude and generosity. The community rediscovers a sense of mutual concern in which individuals see the needs of others as their own and manifest God’s gift of mercy. [html]

We are asking pastors and their gathered leaders to cultivate a culture of generosity expressed in both stewardship and in the works of mercy.

Specifically, parishioners should invite one another to a way of life that imitates the total self-giving of Christ.

Thank you for your patience
This webpage is a work in progress. We want to provide the best resources in a simple and actionable manner and will update the Culture of Generosity soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Tom Crowley.