As a parish, we are concerned with human persons, and yet so often we have tasks on our to-do list that keep us away from people. Since summer can be a little slower for most parishes, now is the perfect time to take a long, hard look at what in your parish office frees you up to be with your people, and what holds you back. Consider doing an informal parish cost-benefit analysis, but with real people in mind.
Here’s how to get started:
- On notepaper, sketch out an average workweek for each member of your parish staff. What does each person spend their time doing?
- How does this initial sketch stack up against what is important to the flourishing of your parish community? Specifically, where do you spend too much time but don’t see much benefit?
- What would be the costs, both in terms of time and money, of making that time-consuming task or process more efficient?
- How would your parishioners benefit if you could cut down on the time spent on that task by 25-50 percent?
In the end, you’re looking to make processes efficient so that you can spend more time with your people. Going through this thought exercise as a team may help you to identify some processes that are keeping you away from ministry. Maybe you knew about them already – like a difficult-to-work-with database system – but you didn’t know exactly how much time was being lost to it. Maybe you didn’t know about them – like the hours spent trying to work with a balky copy machine! While the upfront costs of fixing either system might be substantial, you need to look at the long-term and see how investment today might free you up for what you are called to – minister to your parishioners. A parish cost-benefit analysis will not only make you more efficient, but it will make your ministry more effective.