The Parish Picnic – More Than Just a Walk in the Park

This week’s installment begins a series of three more “rounds” of “FRES” items.  Yes, it’s supposed to be “FIRES,” but, just like there is no “I” in “team,” there is no “I”, since the “Initiation” element is wonderfully handled by the Catholic Church’s Rites of Christian Initiation already!  This week, we focus on the “F” for…

Preach the Gospel Always; If Necessary, Use Words

This quotation is usually credited to St. Francis of Assisi, but is of unknown origin.  No matter – it’s still an excellent credo to live by.  There’s a secular correlating quotation, too: “Actions speak louder than words.” That’s why this article is a short one. It reminds me of lyrics from one of my favorite…

The Envelope is Dead

I work in sales, and there are some sales experts out there that believe that because of the Internet, the practice of “cold calling” prospect who have never heard of you or your company is dead.  I’m one of those believers, even though most sales experts say the best way to reach a person is…

Gathering the Greater Community to Build Fellowship

Many parishes have festivals during the summer, and consider the festival to be their “big fundraising event”…even though it’s really not.  Even though it might raise significant dollars, the function of the festival is the same as the monthly spaghetti dinners and the weekly Fish Fries during Lent.  The secondary benefit is the generation of revenue; their main…

Being Good Stewards of the Funds Entrusted to Us

Last week, the topic of Stewardship in the “FIRES” framework completed the first cycle of five suggestions regarding those elements.  As you’ll recall, there will not be suggestions regarding “Initiation” in future postings, since the Catholic Church already has an excellent initiation process in RCIA, RCIC and Sacramental preparation classes for parents and children. This cycle, let’s…

The Difference Between Stewardship and Development

A Happy New Year to you and yours (a couple of days early)!!  There are at least 3 new year celebrations throughout the year that most of us celebrate – the calendar new year, the Church’s new year (which begins on the First Sunday of Advent), while our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate their new…

Revenue Management: It’s Not Just About Income and Expenses

In writing advancement articles for schools, administrators seem to take sides – is the faith-based school a business, or is it a ministry?  Recent articles have been written to say that it’s BOTH – just as Jesus was both true God and true man. In the spirit of “Next Practices,” I suggest that it’s not…

Initiation: Discernment Causes a Change in Plans

When my wife and I were preparing for marriage, our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend experience made us realize there were five steps to making a decision: Prayer, Discernment, Mutual Decision, Mutual Responsibility, and Openness to Change. That’s not only a good process for marriage, that’s a good process for any kind of decision…especially the openness…

Fellowship: Nights of Praise and Adoration

Later this month, the Catholic community celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which emphasizes the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  When I was a small boy, my mom took me to church in the afternoon on this day when it was called the Feast of Corpus Christi. …

Evangelization is Marketing

Today we celebrate Pentecost  – the day when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, and emerged from their locked upper room to spread the Good News throughout the world.  As the song from the Dameans in 1969 told us, “Tell the world a mighty wind has blown!” Over 50 years later…and we still have much…

The FIRES Framework

This is the 5th of 5 postings that set up the necessary systems framework so that parishes can either grow or, if they are currently growing, be able to manage that growth. Last week’s entry provided an introduction to systems thinking, since we have been conditioned from the time that we began school to think…

The Complexity of Systems Thinking

This is the 4th of 5 articles which set up the necessary systems framework so parishes can either grow or, if they are currently growing, manage that growth. Last week, I offered an overview of the system of systems that has been developed for schools. To review, each of the five systems are identified by…