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Mentoring New Leaders for Social Ministry - Shared Leadership

November 21, 2022

From the Office for Social Ministry

Retired social worker and former Diocese Office for Social Ministry Director Carol Ignacio once aptly stated that “there are no Lone Rangers in ministry...He even had Tonto.” The Old Western TV hero known as the Lone Ranger successfully met his mission by sharing leadership with his trusted scout – Tonto. In a similar way, our diocesan pastoral plan Stewards of the Gospel recognizes the different talents and skills each of us can bring to our church community. The plan lists LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT as one of its main priorities to meet our Church╩╗s social mission of helping those in need. The plan also reminds us that “God bestows special gifts of leadership on certain members of our community, and we commit ourselves to the discernment and development of these leadership gifts so that the work of being stewards of the Gospel can continue for generations to come.”

As part of our efforts to nurture and resource ministry leaders who “take the gospel out to the ‘highways and byways’ of the world,” the Office for Social Ministry hopes to advance leadership development with our lay leaders by discerning strategies outlined in William E. Simon’s GREAT CATHOLIC PARISHESSo what makes a Catholic parish great? The first characteristic is SHARED LEADERSHIP - a parish’s ability to distribute leadership beyond the few who are already busy doing majority of the work.

Interviews conducted by the Parish Catalyst group with 244 exceptional Catholic parishes across the country identified three different styles of leadership sharing: the Collaborators, the Delegators and the Consultors. 

  • Collaborative leaders value teamwork, cooperation, and consensus. 
  • Delegators empower others to lead by delegating responsibilities and offering support, encouragement and freedom. 
  • Consultative leaders emphasize the importance of seeking out perspectives and opinions that can inform their own decision making.

True Shared Leadership in ministry is a gradual and mutual evolution. If used effectively, each group enables the whole parish community to demonstrate a sense of ownership and stewardship for the parish. This allows the community to grow organically. Parishioners are given a platform for realizing their gifts and a path for exercising leadership in their parish. The affirmation of developing natural leadership can also result in a leader’s personal faith development. Shared leadership practiced in various ways is the optimal model of parish leadership. We invite you to read and apply the strategies of GREAT CATHOLIC PARISHES in your  own parish and share your journey with us so that we can all grow together as One ╩╗Ohana.

On Wednesday, November 30th from 6:30-9:00 PM, the Office for Social Ministry will conduct a VIRTUAL LEADERSHIP ENRICHMENT for all interested Food and Social Ministry leaders.  The focus will be on Shared Leadership, so if you are mentoring a fellow ministry volunteer, please invite them to join us.  To sign-up for this free session, RSVP to Iwie Tamashiro at itamashiro@rcchawaii.org or call (808) 203-6702 for the zoom link.   We look forward to seeing you there!