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an orderly and disciplined way, basing choices on facts rather than assump-

tions, while retaining a degree of flexibility. In the end, it is always import-

ant to remember that a plan is a guide and that the Holy Spirit is the agent

of the discipleship process.

3. Effective Planning for Ministry Requires Leaders

The implementation of a successful pastoral plan requires pastoral min-

isters who are not just managers and administrators but spiritual leaders

with requisite planning skills. Such pastoral leaders are faithful and have a

strong love and commitment to Jesus Christ. They are able to inspire oth-

ers to share the Church’s mission through their engaging vision of a lived

faith in the Holy Spirit that calls all the baptized to live as missionary

disciples. Pope Francis frequently speaks of the ministry of leadership in

the Church as being strongly grounded in personal, pastoral, and spiritual

formation. Below, we share a few qualities and practices of model pastoral

leaders, who can best help their planning team, drawn from documents of

the Catholic bishops of the United States.


Pastoral Leaders Embrace Pastoral Formation

Pastoral leaders, through their own behavior, lead and inspire others

through an engaging vision, personal witness, and commitment as mis-

sionary disciples. A pastoral leader is in full communion with the Catholic

Church, is able to minister joyfully and faithfully, and has a desire and

willingness to accompany others on the spiritual journey toward Christ

while living and teaching as the Church does.

Pastoral Leaders Embrace Spiritual Formation



, or proclamation of the story of salvation, constitutes the

foundation of spiritual formation for pastoral leaders. Spiritual leaders must

not only know the


and be able to proclaim it but also understand

they are included in God’s plan of salvation, which continues today.

Ongoing catechesis, prayer, and participation in the sacramental life of

the Church are important for this facet of formation, as they strengthen

conversion and enable disciples to persevere in the Christian life.

Spiritual formation includes growing in love of God and his Church.