Decision-making at St. Barnabas Parish
The Parish Council and commissions commit themselves to work towards consensus through a "shared wisdom" model of interaction. The wisdom of the group lies not in any one articulate person, nor in one dynamic idea, but in the actual sharing of everyone’s insights. Thus, the Council and commissions are committed to listening to each of its members with the desire to surface the wisdom available, and coming to a consensus about the will of God for the group at this time. This takes faith in the group and the ability to let go of personal agendas for the broader good of the parish.
Consensus means that, given the above process, the Council and commissions do not make decisions until all members have had a chance to share their views and express whether they can accept a certain result. There may be times when one person can make the group go back to its deliberations, look for other data, or consider other solutions. There also may be times when a person may have to let the group’s shared wisdom prevail. On some occasions, a vote may contribute to the process. The pastor’s special responsibilities to the parish and to the greater church may assist the process.
There are many levels of decision-making in a parish as complex as St. Barnabas. In order to involve all those who may be affected by a decision, the Parish Council and commissions utilize the C-D-I process of decision-making.
Consult - Decide - Inform
Whenever an issue arises, those in leadership determine who the actual decision makers will be for the issue, as well as who should be consulted about and informed of the decision.
Before a decision is reached, the deciders consult those who have knowledge about or who might be affected by the decision. The deciders should be open to others’ ideas, wisdom and knowledge on the subject.
The consultation process includes:
- communicating with all the key people and groups that may be affected by the decision;
- checking parish calendar for conflicts and parish facilities for availability;
- examining financial implications.
After taking into consideration the information and wisdom received, the deciders make a decision.
Once the decision is made, but before an action is taken, those making the decision inform those to be affected about the
decision and the reasons for the decision. Only then does action take place. This process should alleviate much confusion in
the decision-making process.
If an ambiguous situation arises, and it is unclear who should make the final decision, then it is the role of the Parish Council to determine who the deciders should be. The Council, working in conjunction with the pastor, should resolve the issue through thought, prayer, discussion and sharing of each other’s wisdom.
(For more information, see the Parish Leadership Covenant Booklet.)