Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Priests Need More Business Skills"

This is a phrase I've heard often, and I agree wholeheartedly.  When I was in the seminary we regularly pleaded for accounting/HR/managerial classes.  We didn't get much of it despite us asking for help.

There have been movements to help priests get properly trained, and thanks be to God!  Without ever having had a business class, I was asked to take over a situation where I manage $600,000 annually, and oversee 13 employees.

Jeff Cavins and renowned business speaker Patrick Lencioni sent all priests a book recently which beautifully spoke to the need that so many priests need to develop and grow, and they are offering a lot of resources in that regard.

In my own Archdiocese, we have received a grant to help develop our priests in certain business competencies.



All this talk about the need we have for priests to develop their business acumen has me thinking...


I want to note two specific areas where it seems a lot of dioceses could REALLY use an injection of some business sense.

If you told Pepsi Cola or some other Fortune 500 company - "Hey, you guys are losing SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT of your customers at the age of 18.  They stop using your product.  You will not see them again until they are 30 years old."

Let me tell you what would happen.  The CEO would pull the fire-alarm, get on the pa, and call an emergency meeting and tell everyone "STOP immediately what you are doing, and report to an emergency meeting in 4 minutes.  Everything else stops until we put together a plan for how we are going to solve this."

But the Catholic world in the United States seems to recite the statistic of 75% of our young people leaving as a sort of "Shucks, oh well, I hope it doesn't happen to MY kid, but if it does, well, it happens."

A second area.  Vocations to the priesthood.

Again, imagine a Fortune 500 company finding out that they can only choose plant managers from a selected pool of people, and that the pool is shrinking rapidly WHILE AT THE SAME TIME the number of retiring managers is going to be huge over the next 10 years.

Again, it would be a "four-alarm-every-single-person-to-the-board-room-and-we're-not-leaving-until-this-is-solved"

And yet most Catholics barely seem to concern themselves with nurturing vocations, recruiting vocations, supporting vocations, etc.


This issue of vocations isn't something that falls to one or two vocation directors - this is a CATHOLIC CULTURAL thing - it needs to be everywhere, in our homilies, talked about in our homes, affirmed by parishioners (hey Billy, you'd make a great priest) it needs to be talked about by our bishops, it needs to be a part of every Catholic school, we need to support programs that are proven to nurture vocations.  Not just TRY them.  Mandate them.  From the top.

I know I need more business skills.  But pardon me if it rings a little hollow at the moment when I'm asked to become more business savvy when the Church at the diocesan level across the country doesn't seem to be incorporating those same business-minded principles themselves.

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