One important task for all of the commissions is to connect with each organization or ministry within its area. The foundation for linking is authentic relationships and servant leadership. As Pope Francis explains in the Joy of the Gospel, leaders should “take on the smell of the sheep (24).” This means that Commissions should take the time to develop relationships with the people (especially the committee chairs) who serve in their area. They should get to know the joys and challenges each committee is experiencing. Commission members should connect with their committees at least once a month. During the parish leadership night, there are no reports given back to the commission members, just a brief “check-in,” unless there are concerns or issues to be addressed. The Commission itself would not be made up of a leaders or chairs of each of the ministries, but one of the six to nine people on the Commission would be the link with one or two ministry groups in their area.
The commissions need to continually assess activity in their area in light of mission. Here are some questions that commissions need to consider on a regular basis:
- Is every ministry, program, or event accomplishing our mission to “Go make disciples?”
- If not, can changes be made so that the ministry, program or event fosters discipleship or does it need to be eliminated?
- Can the ministry, program or event be directly connected to one of the baselines on our discipleship process?
- How can the commission foster movement so that events or programs do not become an end in itself but rather a stepping stone on the path of discipleship?
- Are there resources in place so that ministries and committees can accomplish their mission?
- Are there opportunities for collaboration between committees or ministry areas?
- Is there a need that is not being addressed?
In light of the insights developed through the processes of linking and assessing, the commissions are meant to be visionaries who set new directions for the future with a laser-like focus on the mission of discipleship. As servant leaders, the commissions need to develop goals to ensure that there is clarity, alignment, movement and focus on mission. This may involve building bridges between people, committees or other commissions, encouraging alignment, being disciplined about introducing new events or recognizing the need to eliminate programs.
Commissions are responsible for creating vision, yet it is up to others to be “the doers.” Thus, it is an important function of a commission to identify or if necessary, to establish ministry groups to accomplish the goals. The commission would form the ministry group; give it a job description and timeline to follow, as well as providing support and encouragement for its task. This frees the commission to consider other aspects of formation that need attention.