Leadership is about service. It is more than just managing or directing people. It has to do with inspiring and motivating others to be their best selves and to accomplish the mission of the group, whether it be a company, an agency, a government, a church, or a family.

Credible leaders strive to embody the values of the organization and are often the visible head of a group, but sometimes leadership is best exercised from behind or underneath - invisibly. The true leader might not be the official head or director but the person who holds the respect of the group. These leaders influence the movement of a group because of their personal integrity and wisdom. Others recognize that they speak the truth and this inspires a willingness to follow.

Ideally leadership is exercised collaboratively and follows careful listening. This does not mean, however, that a leader merely polls the group and follows the majority since leaders are called to move the group into the future and not just reflect the status quo. Sometimes leaders have to bring a hard message of reform and change. But effective leadership and ministry is not a Lone Ranger, top down process. As Mary Benet McKinney, OSB, says in Sharing Wisdom, "No one has all the wisdom. Everyone has some of the wisdom. Everyone has a different piece." If all the voices are not heard, even dissenting or radical ones, a valuable piece of wisdom is lost.

Skillful leaders, therefore, take all the voices and form it into a message to which the majority can say, "YES, that rings true to me. I may not agree with everything. It may call me to sacrifice for the common good. But I believe that I have been heard and am willing to invest myself in this work."

In companies, agencies, and governments leaders usually hear the voices of their constituents through their Boards, staff, and ultimately consumers or the electorate. In churches, there are also Boards, Councils and ultimately the sensus fidelium or the sense of the faithful. In the family, parents may hold a family meeting to discuss decisions that impact the whole family or simply listen attentively to the needs of spouse or children before making a decision.

Ultimately it is the assent of the governed that gives power to the leader to lead. Power is a heavy burden and needs to be always checked by the leader's humility and sense of service.



Are you searching for a holistic approach to your marriage ministry that is:
Designed by experts in the field
Consistent with your faith

 Marriage Ministry Made Easy is a parish-friendly collection of ministry tools and programs which, taken together, address the needs of the married couples in your parish or congregation over the lifetime of their marriages in:
Marriage Preparation
Newly Married
Marriage Enrichment
Healing Troubled Marriages

Five long time leaders in marriage ministry and active members of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers, have teamed up to offer a realistic guide for supporting marriages. We are Fr. Rob Ruhnke CSsR, Steve & Kathy Beirne, Patricia Crane Ennis, and myself.

To get you started, check out the following resources:

52 Easy Ways to Support Marriage in Your Parish

100 Family Related Petitions

Technology Tips & Traps for Couples

Go to our website, www.MarriageMinistryMadeEasy.com for the full picture. (Click on each quadrant for more details.)

click here for more details   

Ministry With a Family Perspective
Keeping the Minister's Family Sane and Holy
Preparing Couples for Marriage Across the USA
Open Space Technology
Appreciative Inquiry

A People Adrift - The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America
by Peter Steinfels (Simon & Schuster, NY, 2003, $26)
A comprehensive analysis of the Catholic Church in the U.S.A. since Vatican II. As senior religion editor for the N.Y. Times, Steinfels has an indepth knowledge of the facts and trends facing Catholicism. He addresses the critical issues facing the Church today with fairness and balance. It includes the issues of the clergy sexual abuse scandals, the search for common ground in prolife issues, catholic identity, liturgical battles, sexuality, the role of women, and the use of power in the Church. A good source book for anyone wanting to engage in serious discussion of current issues in the Catholic Church and how they developed in the last 50 years.

Welcome Your Child – Family Enrichment at Baptism and Beyond. Family Life Office, Archdiocese of Omaha. (888) 874-2684.
Comprehensive program with an extensive manual which guides leaders through three stages of early parenthood – Birth to 12 months, 12-18 months, and 18-24 months. Great background, input, and creative rituals.

Parent Mailings for Baby’s First Year. Family Life Office, Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. (814) 886-5551. $5.00/packet. Bulk discounts available. Spanish and/or English lifetime reprint rights - $250. Packet includes six mailings to be sent to new parents by their parish during baby’s first year of life. Great complement and follow-up to Baptism prep. Mailings are spiritual based- practical tips for living and passing on the faith; also prayers and rituals. Appropriate for married or single parents, Catholic or ecumenical marriages. Baby’s First Year Calendar also available.

To Seal & Strengthen Love – A Resource Manual for Ministry with Newly Married Couples by Mary Ann Paulukonis (NACFLM, 2002, $12.95)
Helpful strategies, programs, and resources for those involved with ministry to young marrieds.

Kids Creating Circles of Peace. Susan Vogt & Anne Marie Hansen. St. Louis, MO: Institute for Peace and Justice, 2000. $4.95 (quantity discounts).
This 36 pg. booklet is geared to classroom use for grades K-6 and contains story starters to help children think through how they would handle typical conflict situations in their everyday life. This is the most recent resource that supports the Pledge of Nonviolence.

It’s Not the Same Without You – Coming Home to the Catholic Church by Mitch Finley (Doubleday ©2003, $12.95)
Challenging book that seeks to understand why many Catholics left the Church, why they decide to return, and what pastoral leaders can do to help.

Family Ministry – A Comprehensive Guide by Diana R. Garland. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. Ó1999. Source book for the professional family life minister.

National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM)
NACFLM is an association of professional ministers within the Catholic Church who work to strengthen the Church’s commitment to families. NACFLM believes in the intrinsic sacredness of family life. Its mission is to be a prophetic voice for family in Church and society, to foster professional development, and to provide mutual support for those who minister with families.
David Abele – Executive Director
University of Dayton, 300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-2512
Phone: 937-229-3324
Fax: 937-229-4902
E-Mail: nacflm@udayton.edu
Web Site: www.nacflm.org

Center for Ministry Development
Provides ministry education for leaders, ministry development training and resources, programs and publication in family ministry, intergenerational faith formation, youth ministry and young adult ministry.
Tom East, Director
John Roberto, Family and Intergeneration Project Coordinator
P.O. Box 699, 175 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770
Phone: 203-723-1622
Fax: 203-723-1624
E-Mail: cmd@cmdnet.org
Web Site: www.cmdnet.org

Pastoral Planning for Lifelong Faith Formation
A great website with many free downloads for pastoral leaders. Delveloped by the same people who developed the "Whole Community Catechesis" approach to parish involvement and religious education. Solid Formation. For the Whole Community.
Bill Huebsch
9980 Wildflower Rd.
Pine City, MN 55063
Website: www.PastoralPlanning.com

Susan Vogt
Author, Speaker, Coach
523 E. Southern Ave. : Covington, KY 41015
Phone: (859) 291-6197 : Fax: (859) 291-4742
E-Mail: SusanVogt1@gmail.com : Website: www.SusanVogt.net