Growing in Trustworthiness -- a Continual Commitment
As a ministry team, clergy and lay alike, we strive each year for continual improvements, notably in the areas of parish services, operations and leadership. Studies show that belonging leads to believing. Trustworthiness of church ministers is a major element in a person’s decision to belong to a parish, and thus in facilitating one’s progress toward an increasingly robust belief in our good and gracious God.
Incremental improvement, which is the approach we take, means to us continual small advances in a lot of different areas, which combined work to help parishioners more fully connect with the St. Stephens faith community, and in that fellowship grow in one’s connectedness to God.
Here is a quick highlights list from our 2013/2014 efforts. For a more complete description of how your parish is becoming increasingly accountable and service oriented, please read our on-line version of our Annual Report at www.StStephensLife.com.
Organizational improvements to increase trustworthiness --
Relative to Staffing –
added ministry capacity in the areas of pastoral care, liturgy and family ministry
increased clarity of delegation, mission, and accountability measures for all areas of ministry
In collaboration with volunteer Lay Leadership --
added Preschool Commission and rejuvenated Social Concerns Commission
added new members to Finance and Pastoral councils
Participative lay ministries opportunities increased --
added services to local families in need through our new St. Vincent DePaul council
three new pastoral care and one new spirituality ministry formed
As to on-going spiritual growth – early work has been completed to make this a norm and integral standard for both staff and volunteer leadership groups
Relative to decision-making processes –
norms are now established: collaboration, lay co-responsibility, and full process transparency
Snapshot measures of current trustworthiness
Per our parish-wide Gallup Survey last spring, our key scores are improving: parishioner life satisfaction (up 9 points), perception of opportunities to grow (up 3 points to score-levels on par with the best parishes in the nation), leadership caring (up 4 points, on top of already good marks), understanding the benefits of belonging (up 6 points, and thus also matching scores from the best in the nation)
Parish growth – numbers of parishioners (continues annual growth rate of around 3%), willingness to financially support the parish (continues over 3% per year growth), contributions to special appeals for disasters, human needs, and our share of Archdiocesan ministries (growth of over 5% year over year)
2013/2014 is the latest in a series of pastoral years truly worthy of celebration!
Thank you for your participation in our journey together as a member of St. Stephens.
May our Lord’s peace and joy be with you,