Part One of a four-part series on a new and exciting initiative called “Next Generation Parish
Our parish of St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, Indiana has been chosen to participate in a four-year program called “Next Generation Parish.” Not a catchy or flashy name by any means, but a program we hope is impactful. An organization called the Catholic Leadership Institute has recently developed the program and is looking for a Diocese to participate. They approached our Bishop, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and asked if he’d be willing to host this program. After learning the full details, he quickly said yes. He invited 12 parishes within our diocese to participate, and we were one of the parishes selected to participate. What an opportunity for St. John!
So what is the “Next Generation Parish” program? It is a four-year partnership with the Catholic Leadership Institute providing an executive coach to lead our parish to a change in culture. The goal is for our parish to become a Next Generation Parish, meaning a parish with a culture and a mission of making disciples. It was easy for our parish leadership to say yes to this invitation, as making disciples is the goal of our clergy and staff.
The program will consist of four phases. Phase one is information gathering. Our coach will be seeking to gather as much information as possible to assess St. John's. The coach will observe our strengths and weaknesses and identify our primary needs. As they say: “You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” The information will help our coach determine how our parish can move forward in creating a culture of discipleship. The information-gathering will consist of an on-site visit, observing Sunday Masses, interviewing key leaders, and compiling parish data. Phase one will span approximately six months.
Phase two focuses on crafting a two-year plan to create a culture of discipleship in our parish. Our coach will do so in conjunction with staff and other key leaders. The plan will focus our parish in enacting initiatives and events which help people become and mature as disciples of Jesus. Phase two will be a year-long effort. Phase three is the implementation of the plan running for a total of two years. Phase four will evaluate the plan and measure how our parish and its people have grown in their relationship with Jesus. Phase four will last approximately six months.
The partnership is a fantastic opportunity for St. John’s at exactly the right moment. We fully expect to see immense growth and transformation for our parish through this partnership. Soon, our parish will fulfill our God-given mission to be disciples and make disciples in our Goshen community.