Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Consultation: Parish Consulting

  • Customized, on-site parish leadership team consulting services
  • Pre-packaged parish leadership team consulting services, including topics such as:
    • Discovering a parish’s vision, values, and mission
    • When the cultures of task and ministry collide
    • Breaking silos and building bridges

The Institute of Pastoral Studies offers a unique model of parish consultation that leverages the individual gifts of pastors, lay ministers, and lay parish leaders, so that they may develop collaborative Pastoral Leadership Teams. This model has been successfully field-tested and refined through IPS’s stewardship of the INSPIRE Project—a Lilly Endowment Sustaining Pastoral Excellence partnership initiative between the Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Over the past ten years, INSPIRE engaged with more than forty parishes in the Archdiocese. Professional Organizational Development consultants, who also have intimate knowledge of the daily rhythms of parish and congregational settings, guide individuals and teams to build on their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, find common mission, and support one another in their efforts to build The Kingdom. The Parish Consultant, a third-party outsider with no agenda within the parish, is able to hold up a mirror to parish teams so they may see themselves more clearly. This enables teams to make wiser decisions about future directions.

Proven Pathways that Integrate Shared Spirituality and Reflection

Through research initiatives and a feedback loop that informs both the participating parish and the consultation methodology as a whole, IPS Parish Consulting enhances awareness of shared spirituality and reflection as critical frameworks to building common mission and understanding. Parish Consultants understand their work as a discipline that develops leadership and management among lay and ordained pastoral ministers and lay parishioner leaders in church settings. The consultants know there is no magic formula: every parish is unique. Consultants accompany each parish team in the mode of appreciative inquiry, walking with the parish to find its way forward.

Leveraging University and Local Church Partnerships

In working directly with parishes and several supporting diocesan departments, the Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Archdiocese of Chicago have forged an exceptional collaborative relationship. This partnership has yielded a great deal of learning about how healthy, collaborative Pastoral Leadership Teams support parish vitality, as well as the critical role that professional Parish Consultation plays in this process.

IPS has also been enriched by a relationship with the Catholic Church in Germany, sharing information and resources with the Department of Catholic Theology at Ruhr University Bochum, and with six German dioceses (Aachen, Essen, Hamburg, Hildesheim, Muenster, and Osnabruck). Partnership initiatives are also forming between IPS and the Bochum Center for Applied Pastoral Theology Research (Zentrum für Angewandte Pastoralforschung or ZAP). All of these relationships serve to enlighten, inform and hone the practice of IPS Parish Consulting in a constantly evolving world pastoral environment.

Our staff has…a new foundation…helping us to heal and, through us (with God’s help), bringing healing to our faith community.

Parish Staff, Chicago West Side parish