To listen to the most recent sermon I offered, on the value and role of a spiritual father, click on the following link: “We Need Another’s Eyes”
What do you think are the most common reasons for a person not developing a relationship with a spiritual father?
Photo by Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr
Preparing for the Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee, here is my attempt to invite our youth to think about Pride & Humility. In planning this, I was inspired by one of St. Anthony the Great’s sayings:
I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.”
For some reason, I associated snares spread out over the world with spiderwebs. And yes, I realize that it’s a real stretch to associate a game of human foosball with pride and humility. Perhaps you have a better suggestion for a more thematically coherent closing activity. If so, please do share by leaving a comment below. Thanks!
Through the prayers of St. Cyril, Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of the Slavs, may God have mercy on us and save us. Here’s our Wednesday night youth group plan in honor of this great saint:
Mission Impossible! (for St. Cyril)
If you have ideas about how I can improve it, please do share them–thanks!
The size of a team has a direct effect on its functioning. In The Power of Team Leadership, the prolific George Barna describes the differences between a leadership team, a work group, and a committee. As I read this passage, I thought about the administrative structure of the church community in which I serve and about the group most associated with parish leadership: the Parish Council.
Image from Twelve Angry Men, courtesy of archive.org
By Barna’s criteria, a Parish Council is not a leadership team. For one, it’s just too big to be one. The function of a Parish Council, according to the guiding documents of the Church, is to “[conduct] all Parish affairs in keeping with the mission, aims and purposes of the Church.” This definitely means operational oversight and maintenance—but not necessarily leading a change. A Parish Council is quite rightly also called a board of trustees or directors. On its own, it is unlikely for this group to lead a change without some external influence supporting it, and that’s perfectly fine. Oversight, support, communication, and coordination of ministries are critical aspects of parish ministry, and we need committed people to assume these roles.
Then question then is: How do we fill that void? What does a leadership team look like? Barna gives us some good foundational ideas. Here are the four that stood out most to me:
- Size: Leadership teams are small, consisting of three to five people. Less than three, and you don’t have the horsepower to get things done. More than six means unwieldiness, compromise, and inefficiency. Think of Mt. Tabor, not the Last Supper.
- Composition: Leadership teams are comprised of—you guessed it—leaders. There are lots of good people with good intentions, or people with impressive titles, but these characteristics don’t necessarily make for good leadership team members.
- Complementarity: Team members have complementary (different) gifts and skills; they aren’t all carbon copies of each other.
- Mutual commitment and accountability: Even if they’re not best friends, leadership team members care about each other’s growth and success. They also welcome and provide mutual accountability and evaluation.
All this considered, it seems unlikely that such a group would routinely be assembled by popular vote. They need to be selected. In the absence of official policy calling for such a group, it’s in the hands of the leader to form it. I wonder then about the best way to do that. How would you go about forming a leadership team in the group or organization of which you’re a part?
Apologies for being off the grid for a while. Here is the youth group activity we used last week in conjunction with the feast of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple: GOYA Meeting Presentation & Purification
The “Toxic Waste” team-building activity was (as predicted) a bit much for middle school youth. Do you have suggestions for team building activities that work well with that age group? I’d love to hear them!