Pastoral Council Development

We serve dozens of parish pastoral councils each year through workshops and consultation on: strategic thinking, pastoral planning, parish vitality, meeting skills, enabling volunteers, inter-parish collaboration and learning to lead in times of transition.  We also provide guidelines for council operation and best practices. There is no cost for any of these services.

The Diocese also offers guidelines for effective parish pastoral councils and for a constitution and bylaws. These are viewable online or downloadable in .pdf format.

Download - Council Operations Manual

Download - Guidelines Summary or Complete Guidelines

Download - Constitution and Bylaws Recommendations 

Download - Relationship of Pastoral and Finance Councils

You can also receive a copy by contacting us or calling (716) 847-8393.

Some popular topics include:

  • Purpose of a Pastoral Council: central function of the pastoral council, characteristics of effective councils, collaborating with the pastor (for parish staff and pastoral council)
  • Effective Parish Councils: how good decisions are made, working toward consensus, structuring a successful parish council, the role of committees/commissions, to delegate or not to delegate, that is the question (for parish staff and pastoral council).
  • Meeting Skills for Parish Organizations: strategic planning, agenda - the key to productive and enjoyable meetings, the art of facilitating, persuasive communication and negotiating skills (for parish staff and pastoral council).
  • Best Practices for Parish Pastoral Councils: Learn how successful councils: start with clarity of purpose, hold productive and purposeful meetings, make wise use of structures and committee reports and get practical answers to questions about size of council, selection of members, how to get started, meetings, and relationship with the parish finance council among others.
  • Growing an Engaged Church: moving from maintenance to mission, best practices for pastoral excellence, leveraging change to maximize growth, adapting to meet emerging needs, pastoral planning made easy (for parish staff, pastoral council and ministry leaders).
  • Strategic Planning Made Simple: the difference between proactive and reactive planning, elements and steps in developing a strategic plan, how to best consult with the congregation, to survey or not to survey - that is the question, how to write high impact goals and more (for parish staff, pastoral council and ministry leaders).

Parish vitality does not just happen. It is the result of strategic thinking and effective leadership. One of the hallmarks of effective leadership is the ability to mobilize a community and focus its energy in a strategic direction. Completing a Parish Planning Survey is another strategic step that all parishes can take in assessing their progress toward vibrant parish life. Once you have collected completed survey contact our office to have the results tabulated and receive a report (sample report). The Parish Cafe is a listening process that can be used to discuss the results of your survey and energize the community for its vital mission. You can print a copy of the parish planning survey or call to receive a copy from the Office for Evangelization and Parish Life, (716) 847-8393. Contact us for expert analysis of your planning survey results.