Purpose, Rationale, Benefits

Planning for the future is based on knowledge of and appreciation for the story of how the parish has evolved from the past. While appreciating what has been, a prophetic approach to planning seeks to discern the movement of the Spirit and the will of God for your parish at this moment in time. (John Reid, Seattle)

The major function of the Parish Pastoral Council is pastoral planning — to structure ways that the parish can contribute to the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ and the Church. Prayer and faith-sharing help the Council begin to discern the will of God for the parish, then to express it in:

  1. Directional Planning — Mission/Vision Statement, Core Values Statement
  2. Strategic Planning — Setting of Goals, stepping stones towards the vision, long-range in nature
  3. Operational Planning — Specifying goals into Objectives and Actions; Who will do What, by When, and at What Cost?
  4. Administrative Planning — Day to day performance; ongoing evaluation of the plan’s progress; annual assessment
  5. Celebration of Accomplishments — Public acknowledgment, appreciation of all participants

The Parish Pastoral Council needs to devise appropriate ways to engage the entire parish in the planning process. This could occur through a series of assemblies, personal interviews, or various forms of listening sessions. (PPCG 42-48)

Why should a Parish do Pastoral Planning?

  • To envision in clear and specific terms what the parish should be and do in faithfully carrying forth the mission of Jesus amidst the trends and complexities of contemporary life.
  • To strengthen the parish and its collective presence and ministries by building the commitment and collaboration of parish leaders and members
  • around a clear, shared vision and focus.
  • To provide a visible witness and sign to the larger community of what the parish stands for and how it hopes to serve people.
  • To confront emerging challenges and take constructive action.
  • To provide a framework to guide future decisions in both stable and changing conditions.
  • To guide the wise use and allocation of limited parish resources.