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Why Do We Need To Plan?
Why do we need to plan, especially if we are a single-parish pastorate?
Evangelization-based strategic planning is important for all parishes, whether in a multi-parish pastorate or a single-parish pastorate. Why? You probably have heard phrases that sound like this:
- “Failing to plan is planning to fail”
- “A goal without a plan is just a wish”
- “Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”
- “Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now”
These phrases frequently get repeated because there is wisdom in them. If there is anything we can learn from looking at parish trends over the last few decades, it is that the Gospel does not take root or stay rooted magically – it is work to which we must constantly attend so that we can respond to the challenges of our times. In other words, we need to be intentional about planning for and cultivating missionary discipleship.
“If the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters.” Pope Francis
As Christian communities, we are devoted to building up the kingdom of God here on Earth so, naturally, every parish is engaged in tremendous ministry to this end. But there will always be limited resources of time, talent and treasure and a need to direct them to those efforts that will be most pleasing to God in fulfilling the Great Commission. There also always will be shifting cultural and demographic phenomena to which we must respond. A strategic plan helps to ensure that the most impactful efforts are discerned, supported, and sustained.