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Developing a Pastoral Plan

forMissionary Discipleship

“One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in

all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church’s mission, and to

enable them to fulfill that responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the

Gospel in our world.


In Pope Francis’s 2013 speech to the Pontifical Council for Promoting

the New Evangelization, he called for “a shared commitment to a pastoral

plan which brings us back to the essential and which is

solidly focused on

the essential; that is, on Jesus Christ

. To get diverted by many secondary or

superfluous things does not help; what helps is to focus on the fundamental

reality, which is the encounter with Christ, with his mercy and with his

love, and to love our brothers and sisters as he has loved us.”


This pastoral planning framework suggests six key dimensions to

assess the current status or pulse of the parish, establish an effective minis-

try, and develop a successful pastoral plan:


A planning process is permeated with prayer before, during, and after

the process. Prayer is the most important work that the planning

team will engage in. This is often an afterthought in pastoral plan-

ning but must be kept at the forefront of pastoral planning efforts.


A parish plan provides a direction focused on bearing fruit not just on

having activities. It is intentional, visible, and based on well-thought-

out, fruit-producing outcomes. This fruit is clearly rooted in the

teachings and pastoral ministry principles of the Church.


The parish seeks out effective pastoral leaders who can inspire others

with an engaging vision of missionary discipleship. These pastoral

leaders, through their own witness of faith and holiness of life, lead