Collaboration and CommunityCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

Just as Jesus chose a community model for His followers in His day, we also experience community as a fundamental component of living as Catholic Christians. Those who minister in community settings need to be able to be together in a healthy and productive way. The ministers themselves need to minister as a community and not as a collection of individuals, each carrying out their specific roles and tasks. Sometimes this happens naturally. More often than not, they need to understand how to do that well and understand both the obstacles and advantages of collaboration. There are theological reasons for collaboration, which underpin our style of ministry. There are predictable obstacles that can be met in a healthy way if we understand them. There are skills that can easily be used to make the process productive and even holy. Those situations with multiple parishes sharing staff are particularly in need of collaborative ministry.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Understand the Church’s theology of collaboration based on the Trinity as community, parish and institution as community, and the Pauline theology of Church as a community of many gifts and charisms, yet one body
  • Explore processes for working with ministry teams and committees
  • Nurture collaborative skills in team and committee formation
  • Confront obstacles to effective collaboration, including dealing with “non-collaborators”
  • Understand the new dynamics needed for ministering in multiple parishes that are “clustered” or “linked” via common pastor and/or staff

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Loughlan Sofield and Carroll Juliano Collaboration: Uniting Our Gifts in Ministry Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2000 ISBN: 877936838; ISBN-13: 978-0877936831
  • Required Book: Mark Mogilka and Kate Wiskus Pastoring Multiple Parishes Chicago, IL. Loyola Press, 2009 ISBN: 0829426493; ISBN-13: 978-0829426496
  • Required Book: Personal Journal or a journaling space on your computer

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Spirituality and Collaboration in Ministry: What They are and How They Relate
    • Understand the religious underpinnings of Collaborative Ministry including scripture, doctrine, church documents, spirituality
    • Explore the rich and inclusive definitions of Collaborative Ministry
    • Appreciate the predictable stages of a group in this regard
    • Learn common obstacles to be faced in a collaborative group
    • Reflect on particular relevant aspects of one’s own ministry group
  • Week 2: Obstacles and Self-Assessment
    • Name some of the obstacles to collaboration
    • Reflect on our self assessment with regards to these obstacles
    • Understand the signs of readiness for collaboration
    • Reflect on where we are individually in terms of readiness
    • Plan how to take these learnings to our own collaborative ministry team
  • Week 3: Confronting Conflict and Anger
    • Gain some understanding of what conflict and anger are
    • Reflect on our own behavior in conflict situations
    • Appreciate the inevitability of conflict in group situations
    • Learn why confrontation occurs and is even necessary
    • Understand how to confront another in a healthy and productive way
  • Week 4: Ministering in Multiple Parishes
    • Understand the rationale for combining parishes ministries
    • Explore some of the necessary and helpful qualities of pastoral ministry in those settings
    • Reflect on the sequence of steps for leadership to take in such circumstances
    • Learn what the best practices are of those who have walked this path
    • Make connections with these practices and parishes with ethnic variety
  • Week 5: Leading Groups
    • Look at Jesus as the model for leading collaboratively
    • Reflect on the predictable stages of growth as a group
    • Learn the “rolodex” model of group leadership and self-assess in relation to it
    • Become familiar with the basic attitudes and behaviors that make a group leader effective