Team versus group, ministry team vs. ministry group, parish leadership team vs. parish council. From 2013 – 2015, a dozen parishioners were invited to form the Discovering the Magis team to engage the St. Ignatius Loyola parish community in a process of discovery and discernment about who we are as a parish and where God is leading us as a Jesuit parish. Drawn from these conversations, our parish vision statements were crafted.
The heart of Discovering the Magis are parishioners who lead or participate on Innovation Teams to put our parish vision into action. The Magis Leadership Team (MLT) provides guidance and support for our parish Innovation Teams and Individual Discoverers as we work together to act to implement our parish vision.
During 2016, two parishioner-led Innovation Teams were formed: the Welcoming Team and the Laudato Si, the Care for the Common Home Team.
Some days, I do not think this is going to work; but, I am hopeful and know other efforts to bring about transformation both within the Church, including the Jesuit order, and outside the Church have taken generations. My hope is not to have every ministry or parish-affiliated organization be a team rather than a group; rather, my hope is members of the parish leadership team (MLT) and the innovation teams act as team members.
Team members are expected to act together to do something with each individual member’s success and performance dependent on the other members’ performance and success. Team members convene, work, and decide together because of their passion for a common vision and outcomes. Team members place their personal agenda aside or in last place relative to the team agenda. Team members call one another on their behavior through open and honest feedback, removing members if necessary, to carry out the team’s agenda.
Anyone with any experience of parish ministry groups knows this kind of transformation of parish ministry and leadership will take some time, and expertise, in leading persons familiar with how things are and always have been in parishes to act in new ways. I am first among those needing to be transformed to implement this vision; but, if we can pull it off, what a lovely community we would form that nourishes its own and those outside the community with whom we converse, work together, serve and invite.