St. Francis Xavier Parish initiated a process of Prophetic Planning in 2011, facilitated by the Reid Groupof Seattle, WA. The outcome of this parish-wide investment of time and energy is the a vision statement and set of goals and strategies that will carry and sustain our people and ministries through 2016.
What is Prophetic Planning? It is an “opportunity to think together with colleagues about creative and practical ways of helping your parish move beyond the status quo of the present into the future” (Reid, The Art of Change, 1). Prophetic Planning honors the past, acknowledges the present, and looks with hope to the future. It encourages participation by many different people with varying experiences and perspectives on the parish. “Prophetic Planning does not promote timid, status quo, or risk-free planning. Rather it embraces an exciting and creative approach…It involves a radical openness to all the ways the divine chooses to come and to speak to us” (Reid, 5). Clear statements of mission, values, goals, objectives, and action steps are crafted. Important issues facing the parish are named, faced and addressed. Creative and bold solutions to challenges are encouraged and a timeline for implementation is instituted. The goal of the process is to produce a living document, with assessment tools that will guide our journey into the future. The process was organized and guided by consultants from the Reid Group. The planning was implemented and synthesized by members of the parish Futuring Team.
What is a Futuring Team? The Futuring Team is a coordinating body composed of parish staff members, as well as representative parishioners who have been invited to assist in implementing the process and distilling the information produced by the planning retreat participants. The Futuring Team consists of parishioners like you who have an investment in the future of our parish and who represent significant constituent groups, including the young and young-at-heart, that make up the community of St. Francis.
What is a Prophetic Planning Retreat? The parish-at-large was invited to attend and contribute to the Prophetic Planning process by attending and participating in any or all of three Planning Retreats. These retreats were scheduled in September and November of 2011, and January 2012. A variety of group discussion dynamics were utilized to elicit the wisdom of parishioners as we looked forward to our future together.
What other ways are parishioners involved in the Prophetic Planning process? Parishioners contributed to the process through on-line, electronic survey instruments used to gather input and feedback. Focus groups were gathered for additional conversation and sharing of insights about SFX. Some parishioners received a phone call from a member of the Futuring Team, asking for answers to a few questions. All parishioners are now invited to participate in the implementation of the Prophetic Plan by working on the various goals, objectives, and strategies of the plan.
Why do Prophetic Planning? “Prophetic Planning helps groups grow stronger during times of change. It strengthens the organizations to journey together with strength and courage. It gets to the ‘heart of the matter.’ It empowers organizations to use their resources wisely, avoid duplication, and create a new synergy, transforming challenges into opportunities to build a better world” (Reid, 11). In our fast-paced world, change is constant and our parish and Church are not immune to its effects. It is important to learn to manage transitions successfully in order to remain viable, relevant and to move forward grace-fully. Prophetic Planning is a journey of growth, of new insights, of letting go, of grieving, of new relationships, and of creating the new. The journey promotes individual growth in new understandings and skills, as well as group development. Groups mature in the planning process.
We hope you will add your energy and insights to the Prophetic Planning process.
Join us as we move into the next phase of our Journey of Grace!