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Family of Parishes Leadership Team

Leadership Principle

“Pastors, in collaboration with parochial vicars, deacons and lay ministers, according to their proper roles and charisms, share responsibility for pastoral leadership.”

“Competent and qualified staff are necessary to serve the Family of Parishes, especially in the areas of worship, evangelization (including love in action), and administration. As is possible, staff will be unified to serve the entire Family.”



A Family of Parishes is best served when the pastor and key collaborators (clergy and lay staff) work together as a team.  While there are many groups of people who participate in leadership and governance of a parish or Family of Parishes (e.g. Pastoral Council, full staff, Finance Council, commissions, etc.), the leadership team has the greatest potential to effectively assist the pastor in implementing the mission of the parish.

This model has already been employed by many parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati subsequent to the Amazing Parish conference of 2019.  The challenge now will be to take this successful model and apply it to a Family of Parishes, not simply a single parish.

In the short run (at the beginning of Phase 1 of the Pastoral Planning Pathway), it will be difficult for a Family to have a unified leadership team for a variety of reasons.

  • Staff don’t know one another yet.
  • A new pastor is still settling in.
  • Representing all parishes may be difficult.
  • Key collaborators haven’t yet been identified or hired.
  • Parishes are still operating mostly independent of one another (which is normal and healthy in the beginning.)

But in the long run (by the end of Phase 1, ideally by summer 2023) a Family of Parishes Leadership Team (FLT) should be formed.

Scripture Inspired

We need only look to the Bible itself for a model of concentric circles of leadership in the Church that leads the Church on mission!

Source: Amazing Parish


Some characteristics of such a team include:

  • 5-7 people, including the pastor.
  • Department heads who report directly to the pastor and supervise other staff; every other staff member reports up through one of these 5-7 leaders.
  • Comprised of Directors of Administration, Evangelization and Worship, Schools Leader (principal or equivalent) plus 1-2 more key collaborators (social action, communications, outreach, et al.)
  • May include parochial vicars, especially when there are opportunities for mentoring.  (This may make the team a bit larger than 7, but may be important.)
  • Staff who are concerned about the Family more than just “their” parish.
  • Staff who are concerned about the Family more than just “their” parish.
  • A true team that cares about each other, and prays together, and ultimately trusts one another.
  • Leaders for the Family who are concerned not only with their own ministry and work, but also for the health and vitality of the Family of Parishes overall.
  • Among all its members are a diversity of gifts, strengths, and attributes.
  • Able to meet regularly (even daily for brief check-in) with the pastor; weekly 1:1 check-ins and team meetings as the norm.
  • More info about the key members of the FLT, sample job descriptions, etc., can be found in the Administration section of Resources.

Some things the FLT is NOT:

  • Too large: too many people inhibit true teamwork.  Plus, any one manager shouldn’t supervise many more than about 7 direct reports.  Other staff may feel left out but will ultimately find their place as part of depts and smaller teams which are represented to the FLT by a dept or team leader.
  • The Pastoral Council: indeed, the Family Pastoral Council plays an essential role in providing consultation to the pastor and his team, representing the voice of the parishioners.  However, the council is not focused on or responsible for implementation, which is the work of the FLT, staff, and other volunteer leaders.
  • Inclusive of non-staff: it’s usually not possible for unpaid parish leaders to engage as fully as paid staff, limiting the effectiveness of the team in most situations.
  • Selected too quickly or just formed “automatically”: careful decisions should be made about the makeup of the FLT and making the “right” decision is better than making a “fast” one.
  • The same as the “Planning Team” described in parameter #3, formed by Sept 1: the Planning Team is charged – in Phase 1 – with initiating the pastoral planning process even while the Family Pastoral Council and Family Leadership Team are being formed.  The Planning Team will eventually disband as the FLT and Family Pastoral Council assume their roles.


Phase 1 (Short Run)

Each parish staff should continue to meet with the pastor (and vicars) to implement the mission of that parish in the present.

This means the pastor may have multiple staff meetings perhaps even weekly, but only for the duration of Phase 1 (perhaps as short as 6-9 months?)

Also, ministerial cohorts of relevant staff within the family (e.g. catechetical leaders, worship & sacraments staffers, communications coordinators, business managers, etc.) should begin to meet regularly to focus on the future of the Family.

  • These could meet twice a month, perhaps once with the pastor, once without.
  • Through these meetings, the pastor will get to know the present staff throughout the Family and they will get to know one another.
  • Leaders will emerge.

Over time, the individual parish staff meetings will become less important, and the Family ministerial cohorts will become more important.

Simultaneously, the affairs of the Family will become more important than those of any individual parish.

Once a leader is identified within each ministerial cohort (or the need for hiring new staff is apparent), members of the FLT can be chosen and the FLT can be formed before Phase 2.

This may happen one member at a time (i.e. the Director of Evangelization choice is made for the Family, but a Director of Administration is not apparent yet.)

Once any member of the Family Leadership Team is identified, they could begin to participate in ALL parish staff meetings and to lead the meeting of the relevant ministerial cohort.


Many pastors and staff members are familiar with the concept of a Leadership Team through the Amazing Parish conference and the work of author and leadership expert Pat Lencioni. Others have read and appreciate the vision of moving parishes from maintenance to mission through the leadership of such a team as articulated by Fr. James Mallon in Divine Renovation. Fr. Mallon will speak at the Presbyteral Convocation in September and pastors will soon receive copies of Divine Renovation and the DR workbook, which includes guidance and tools for discerning and forming the Leadership Team.

These videos of Fr. Mallon and Pat Lencioni help to establish a good foundation for understanding the role of the Leadership Team and how its members are discerned.

Play Video
Leadership & Vision
(Fr. James Mallon)
Play Video
Forming a Leadership Team
(Fr. James Mallon)
Play Video
5 Misconceptions about a Leadership Team
(Pat Lencioni)
Play Video
The Ideal Team Player
(Pat Lencioni)