Thursday, October 6, 2011

Highly Effective Church

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Stephen Covey is one of my favourite authors.  I enjoy his work so much that I will be ordering a copy of his infamous “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” for each of our parish staff.

Beginning in January, we will walk together through each of the habits in monthly meetings.  All of us are committed to reading a chapter each month and one of us will be responsible to “teach” that chapter to the rest. 

In the meantime, I ask you to join me for a little discussion on Habit 2.

Habit 2 is “Begin with the End in Mind”.  In a nut shell, Covey teaches that each of us have been endowed with gifts from God.  These endowments include: self-awareness, imagination, conscience and independent will.  When we exercise these endowments properly, we become more effective people.

Habit 2 challenges us to exercise our imaginations and conscience.  Our imagination becomes a canvas upon which we paint an image of an ideal future, a future which is better than our present.

If I for instance, am struggling as a father, it is through my imagination that I can picture myself being more patient, loving and engaged with my children.  This becomes my image of an ideal future.  Then, with my conscience as a guide, I can take the necessary steps to make that image a reality.

In short, I can create my own future!

This can be done both organizationally and individually.

Organizations do this all the time when they engage their constituents in a “Shared Vision” process.  XYZ Company envisions a future that is filled with growth, profits and satisfied employees who are fully engaged in their work.  With this end in mind they write a “Strategic Plan” to make it happen using their company values (conscience) to guide their steps.  In short, they write their own future.

This year, we are engaging our newly formed Parish Pastoral Council in this very process.  We are undertaking the task of painting an image of an ‘ideal future’ for the Cathedral of Holy Family.  What will our future look like?  What sort of innovative programming will emerge from this process that will engage young and old alike?  As we look around our parish, we notice the many ‘new Canadians’ in our midst; in what ways will we engage and meet the needs of our new Canadian friends? What sort of social justice initiatives will we be involved in as a community?  What sort of outreach programs will we undertake? As you can well guess, the process of “Beginning with the End in Mind” is very exciting! 

We want your input!  Remember that most organizations engage their constituents in a “Shared Vision” process.  In order for it to be Shared-Vision, you must have a “share” in its creation.  In the new year, you will be invited to participate in “Town Hall” type meetings where together we will paint an image of an ideal future upon the canvas of our imaginations.

We hope you will join us!


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Patrick Clarke

Patrick Clarke is the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Holy Family.  He is married to Tanya.  Together, they have two children: Ava (7) and Lachlan (4) and they are expecting their third child in February, 2013