The last several years I
have heard Patrick Lencioni, who is an active and practicing Catholic, speak
several times on the five dysfunctions of a team. The first time was at the Amazing
Parish conference in Denver, in which I even bought his book, “The Five
Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Parable.” However, the book ended up on my
bookshelf after the conference, where it remained for over two years until this
past July. The second time I heard Lencioni speak was in July at the
Convocation of Catholic Leaders on the Joy of the Gospel.
the convocation, I decided it was time to get the book off the bookshelf, dust
it off and actually read it. I was also encouraged by Susan Safford, who is the
new Director of Pastoral Ministries for our diocese, who has asked that her
team, those ministering in the Offices of Native Ministries, Faith Formation, Family
Life, Youth and Young Adults and Stewardship and Vocations, read the book as
enjoyed reading the book. It had some great insights on how to be more
collaborative and tips on avoiding a “silo mentality” in ministry. He also
cautions against the temptation to settle for maintenance rather than striving
for mission. As summer draws to a close, and our children, youth and young
adults head back to school, we have an opportunity to reflect on how we do
ministry in our parishes and diocese. We can then use this information as we
gear up for the coming fall with its many activities and programs.
like to give you a summary of the five dysfunctions of a team as outlined by
Lencioni. He begins by telling the story
of a former client of the million-dollar company who said, “If you could get
all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could
dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
think one of the hopes of Bishop Gruss is to get all of his pastors and all the
parishes rowing in the same direction and his pastoral letter is a great help
in this endeavor. But my perception is that these 5 dysfunctions are present in
every parish and every diocesan office to a greater or lesser degree and they
keep us in maintenance mode and hinder our ability to truly be missionary
# 1: Absence of Trust
This occurs when team members are reluctant to be
vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes,
weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team
members, a foundation of trust is impossible.
#2: Fear of Conflict
Teams that are lacking on trust are incapable of
engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues, causing situations
where team conflict can easily turn into veiled discussions and back channel
comments. In a work setting where team members do not openly air their
opinions, inferior decisions are the result.
#3: Lack of Commitment
Without conflict, it is difficult for team members to
commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails. Lack of
direction and commitment can make employees, particularly star employees,
#4: Avoidance of Accountability
When teams don’t commit to a clear plan of action,
even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on
actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to the overall good of
#5: Inattention to Results
Team members naturally tend to put their own needs
(ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of
the team when individuals aren’t held accountable. If a team has lost sight of
the need for achievement, the business ultimately suffers.
more information on the five dysfunctions of a team see:
Fr. Mark’s Musings
This past weekend some 90
people from the cross the diocese gathered at Terra Sancta for a “Making Disciple Seminar” sponsored by
the parish of Our Lady of the Black Hills in Piedmont and Catherine of Siena
Institute out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
One of the things I heard
at this workshop is that one of the obstacles of parish communities living
lively faith is that they are stuck in maintenance mode. In the book “New
Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles” Fr. Robert Rivers, CSP, who is the
director of the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association compares
the difference between a maintenance – orientated parish and a mission –
Maintenance – Oriented Parish
It is an inwardly looking
parish. It is focused on the everyday
needs of making the parish machinery work. There is a sense of going through
the motions just to get things done. Overburdened by this, the maintenance –
orientated parish succumbs to focusing solely on its current members, who
absorb most of its time, energy and resources. Evangelization thus becomes an
item on a list of things to do when the pastor has the time.
Is one that looks outward
and sees the souls that are need of care, love, and forgiveness. It involves the active life of the Holy Spirit
by incorporating the necessary atmosphere of openness by welcoming and inviting
people to come and see, by having a deliberate sense of pastoral purpose and
goals, by making decisions that are inspired, and by using the spiritual and
personal gifts of its members. In this way not only is the gospel being made
alive, but through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy the kingdom of God
is being built.
Sherry Weddell, the
author of “Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following
Jesus” says that in our generation “mission is the only maintenance that
At this present moment in time would you say that your parish is more maintenance- orientated or mission – orientated? This would be a great question for discussion with your Pastoral Councils and Stewardship committees.
Fr. Mark’s Musings
This past week I have been reading a number of articles on hospitality and I came across these two definitions by Father Robert Rivers, CSP, in his book from Maintenance to Mission: Evangelization and the Revitalizing of the Parish. Fr. Rivers describes hospitality in these two terms. First, “the word hospitality is derived from the Latin word “hospes” which means host as well as guest. It has been defined as the act, practice, or quality of being friendly and solicitous towards guests, new arrivals.” Secondly, “Christian hospitality goes back to the practice of philoxenia, a Greek word that means to make the stranger a friend.”
What definition resonates more
with you? What about your parish community?
I like both of them myself however, I was really drawn to
the hospes definition of hospitality because it challenges one not only
as the host, but also as the guest.
Can you think of Scripture
passages that describe Jesus as all three? Host, Guest and Stranger?
To get us going:
Jesus as host feeds the 5,000. Matthew 13:13-21; Mark
Jesus as guest receives the invitation of Simon the Pharisee to dine at his home in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus as stranger perhaps can be seen in the separating of the sheep and the goats in Matthew: 25:31-46.
The last month or so I have
been reading two books in preparation for Pastoral Ministry Days. As some of
you know, the theme was “I was a Stranger…Welcoming the Stranger through
Hospitality.” The two books were The New Evangelization: Overcoming the
Obstacles, edited by Stephen Boguslawski, OP and Ralph Martin and Becoming
a Parish of Intentional Disciples, edited by Sherry A. Weddell. Both of the
books describe the difference between maintenance-oriented parishes and
I wanted to share with you Bobby Vidal’s list of
characteristics that describe a maintenance-oriented parish versus a
mission-oriented parish. Vidal wrote the fourth chapter in Becoming a Parish
of Intentional Disciples. Booby Vidal is the Director of Evangelization and
Lay Formation at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church in Santa Clarita, California.
Characteristics of the Maintenance – Driven Parish
The parish is fragmented into a community of communities,
has many programs and rarely talks about its communal identity. Pastoral
practice in the maintenance-driven parish focuses energy, time, and resources
Getting parishioners involved in the many events, activities and
experiences of the parish.
Recruiting and training individuals to take on leadership roles.
Getting parishioners to commit to different tasks that would give them
more time, talent, treasure to the parish.
Sustaining the current structures of the parish, thereby maintaining the
number of people in the parish.
Relying solely on catechesis as a means of transmitting the faith.
Sustaining the inward life of the parish by providing formation for
ministries exercised only for the parish (for example, parish catechist,
lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion).
parish events and experiences with language that only “parish insiders” would
Characteristics of a Mission- Driven Parish
The parish is diverse in its makeup but united and how it
understands its communal identity. The parish has different evangelizing
experiences that connect and relate to one another, creating a clear and simple
path for individual individuals to become intentional disciples. This path is
visible and the community understands that it has a priority — all other
experiences of the parish flow from this path or flow to it. The parish
regularly talks about its communal identity as one that makes disciples.
Pastoral practice in the mission – driven parish focuses energy, time, and
Helping all people to encounter Jesus Christ and experience conversion
through parish events and activities and also in life events outside the
Forming individuals in discerning their individual charisms and’s and
their God-given vocation.
Helping individuals to commit their entire life to Jesus and then to
live out that commitment daily.
Sustaining a culture of discipleship, thereby nurturing and sustaining
the work of conversion in individuals.
Transmitting the faith through pre-evangelization, the initial
proclamation of the gospel (kerygma), and catechesis in a systematic way within
all the parish events/activities.
Answering the outward call of the parish to the secular world by
providing formation for individuals to take on parish ministries and equipping
individuals to transform the secular world.
Communicating events and information with language the parish “insiders”
and “outsiders” would understand and be welcomed and challenged by.
- How can we create the opportunities for individuals to encounter Jesus Christ and experience the conversion to this event or activity?
- How can we form individuals to discern their charisms and vocation?
- How can we assist individuals to commit their entire life to Jesus?
- How can we create a path to discipleship that is owned, supported, and sustain by the whole community?
- How can we transmit the faith through pre-evangelization, the proclamation of the kerygma, and catechesis in a systematic way?
- How do we form others in the task of transforming the secular world with the light of the Gospel?
- How do we communicate an event or experience we are planning in a way that parish outsiders and insiders will understand and feel welcomed and challenged by at the same time?
I suggest you take these characteristics and questions to
your next team meeting to discuss where you parish is at—maintenance or
mission? It might also be helpful to revisit the questions that were discussed
during the PMD breakout sessions. Bridget will be sending a scanned copy of
your parish’s notes to your pastor and your team. Please let us know how our
office can assist you as we continue to welcome the stranger.
Fr. Mark’s Musings 3/27/15