Parish Strategic Plan

CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION 2017: “LOOKING TO THE FUTURE” STRATEGIC PLAN

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Note: Above files require the free Adobe Acrobat ReaderTABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Overview
II. Proposed Vision and Mission
III. Ministry Core Strategies
IV. Ministry Objectives and Initiatives
V. Parish Benchmarks/Performance Measures
VI. Parish Life and Mission Structure
VII. Ministry Action Plans

VIII.  Appendix A. Calculations and Performace Measurements based on 2011 Data

 Core Strategy A – Deepen our Relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic Community
Core Strategy B – Foster a Welcoming and Caring Intentional Community without Strangers
Core Strategy C – Grow our Commitment to Stewardship through a Spirituality of Gratitude
Core Strategy D – Continue to Strengthen our Catechetical  Mission
Core Strategy E – Deepen our Baptismal Call to Discipleship

 

I. OVERVIEW :

I.          Overview:

 1997 – 1998: Developed first “Building Our Future Together” Strategic Plan long-range strategy through the Year 2005.  The plan culminated in a set of Ministry Core Strategies and Commissions to support the staff in implementing these strategies for the future. 

 1998 – 2007:  Strategic Plan updated over intervening years leading to the current need for a more comprehensive review and update of the plan toward the Year 2012. Ascension has experienced significant development in a number of areas, as well as challenges for the future.  In the Year 2001, Ascension achieved its highest October count and highest level of contributions with modest declines in both since that time. 

 The parish continues to experience a number of challenges, including:

  • Funding its preferred staffing model
  • Balancing its reliance on revenue from Bingo and the Parish Festival
  • Developing pastoral regions requiring greater collaboration
  • Drop in the rate of annual baptisms

 2007:  Strategic Leadership Associates (SLA) assists Ascension update its Church of the Ascension 2012:  “Looking to the Future” Strategic Plan. Pastoral Council conducted a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the current challenges facing the parish. In light of these challenges, Father Chris Worland, seeks to update the December 1998 strategic plan refreshing its relevance to the Year 2012.  Priority is to review and update original plan rather than create a plan from “scratch”, as well as build a renewed sense of ownership in the parish through the process.

 April – August 2007: Pastoral Staff and Strategic Planning Team meet withSLA. 

  • During the months of May and June 2007, the Pastoral Staff also completed a Parish Development Profile dated June 18, 2007.  This profile identified 10-year trends in the key benchmark areas of parish life.  The profile also included a review and evaluation of all parish program areas

 September 2007: Parish forums held to solicit feedback on the proposed direction of the strategic plan.  During the forum process, participants also completed a questionnaire evaluating key aspects of the plan.

 October 2007: Strategic Planning Team incorporates suggestions from the parish forums into the strategic plan. 

 November 2007:  Orientation held for current and prospective commission members to acquaint them with the strategic plan and the action planning process. 

 January – February 2008: Commissions met to develop their respective ministry action plans to complete the “Looking to the Future” Strategic Plan

 April 2008: The pastoral staff completed a final review of the plan.

 January 2012: Began the process to review and revise the Parish Strategic Plan.

 October 2012: Ratified changes and produced the 2012-2017 Parish Strategic Plan.

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II. PROPOSED VISION AND MISSION:

Parish Vision Statement
We strive to be Spirit-filled with God as the center of our lives, boldly proclaiming Christ and the Catholic tradition through our actions and word.

Parish Mission Statement
We, the Catholic community of Ascension Parish, are drawn together by our love of Christ as the center of our individual lives, families, community and ministry.  We commit ourselves to being a praying, teaching, caring, serving sign of God’s presence to each other and to the world around us.  We cooperate in building the kingdom of God by:
• Living our Catholic faith and nurturing its growth;
• Extending a spirit of welcome and belonging in our prayer, liturgy, sacrament, and mission;
• Accepting and cherishing the dignity of each person;
• Working in partnership with individuals, churches, and community in service to others

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III. MINISTRY CORE STRATEGIES:

The following core strategies identify the top level direction for the Church of the Ascension to the Year 2017.  These priorities taken as a whole represent the “one-page” strategic plan for the future.  Each of the following core strategies will be supported by a set of ministry objectives and initiatives and ministry action plans for implementation over the next five years.

Core Strategy A- Deepen our relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic community through engaging worship, inclusive and meaningful sacramental life, a commitment to prayer, and catechesis of the entire community.

Core Strategy B – Foster a welcoming, intentional, and friendly community without strangers through care for our members in need, celebration of our sacramental life, and shared ownership of our identity.

Core Strategy C– Grow our collective commitment to stewardship through a spirituality of gratitude and sharing of financial resources, care for our facilities, and the gift of time in service and leadership among one another.

Core Strategy D– Continue to strengthen our catechetical mission of education in faith across the generations through religious education, Catholic school, youth ministry, and adult formation in collaboration with other parishes, the Deanery, and local universities.

Core Strategy E – Deepen the baptismal call to discipleship of our members through service to those individuals, communities, and churches in need.

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IV. MINISTRY OBJECTIVES AND INITIATIVES:

The following ministry objectives and initiatives represent the major benchmarks of success to be achieved in implementing the strategic plan for the Church of the Ascension to the Year 2017.  These objectives and initiatives indicate major priorities to be fully developed and documented in the action plan for implementation over the next several years.

 Core Strategy A – Deepen our Relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic Community

  1. Generate a spiritual vitality in Sunday worship which draws the assembly into a closer relationship with Christ and one another as a community.  (Worship Commission)
  2. Create an understanding and desire which intentionally engages our community in the celebration of the Eucharist, sacraments, the rites of the church, and diverse forms of prayer. (Worship Commission)
  3. Continue to support and develop a committed base of lay ministers of worship to serve responsibly in their ministry for the good of the community with a spirit of enthusiasm.  (Worship Commission)

Core Strategy B – Foster a Welcoming and Caring Intentional Community without Strangers

  1. Maintain our current standards and enhance our hospitality programs, welcoming people into the community through ushers, greeters, registration of new members, and other welcoming roles and practices. (Parish Life Commission)
  2. Continue to strengthen our welcoming community through defining our current hospitality practices and adapting them in an intentional and purposeful way.  (Parish Life Commission)
  3. Embrace and recognize the growing cultural diversity in our region and our parish.  (Parish Life Commission)
  4. Continue our focus on becoming an inviting and evangelizing community with a personal and direct approach to welcoming individuals into the community and inviting them to the next step in their faith lives.  (Parish Life Commission)
  5. Enhance our current pastoral care ministries to those in need within the parish, including the grieving, the sick, those who are lonely, divorced and separated members, etc.  (Parish Life Commission)
  6. Use communication technology and other means to communicate our mission and our spirit of hospitality and welcome to parishioners and those who may be parishioners in the future. (All commissions)
  7. Continue to develop lay leaders who lead ministries, train future ministers, and continue to affirm our current volunteers.  (All Commissions)
  8. Foster vocational awareness as a parish.  (Parish Life Commission)

Core Strategy C – Grow our Commitment to Stewardship through a Spirituality of Gratitude

  1. Develop a business plan for the parish.  (Stewardship Commission)
  2. Catechize parishioners on the meaning of stewardship, including the sharing of time, talent, and treasure.  (Stewardship Commission)
  3. Develop a plan for tithing parish resources.  (Stewardship Commission)
  4. Create a development office to seek and obtain additional resources working with the “Deanery Legacy Giving Program” to support our parish needs.  (Stewardship Commission)
  5. Study the present physical space requirements of parish ministries in light of future collaboration with other parishes in our area.  (Stewardship Commission)
  6. Establish a five-year facilities plan in light of a reduction to one priest and changing needs for worship and gathering space.  (Stewardship Commission)
  7. Complete a parish database with accurate census data on members and their households.  (Stewardship Commission)

Core Strategy D – Continue to Strengthen our Catechetical Mission

  1. Develop a whole church catechetical plan that integrates RCIA, school, religious education, youth ministry, and adult faith formation.  (Education and Parish Life Commissions)
  2. Target currently underserved ages and populations within the parish, including expectant families, post-baptismal preparation, single adults, widows and widowers, those with special needs, seniors, separated and divorced members, and young adults.  (Parish Life Commission)
  3. Provide opportunities for spiritual growth through a review of our current ministries and introduce new initiatives, such as spiritual direction, small faith communities, and other programs which promote marriage and family.  (Parish Life Commission)
  4. Continue to welcome into our Ascension community people who have been baptized, but not currently practicing the Catholic faith.  (Parish Life Commission)
  5. Encourage un-baptized adults to join the church and provide them with the information and support they need through our RCIA process.  (Parish Life Commission)

Core Strategy E – Deepen our Baptismal Call to Discipleship

 

  1. Motivate parishioners to live up to their baptismal call of service within and beyond the parish by forming them in the social teachings of the church.  (Discipleship Commission)
  2. Encourage parishioners to respond to those in need beyond our parish, in our communities, and with other churches.  (Discipleship Commission)
  3. Facilitate collective planning among similar parish outreach programs to establish a cohesive approach to outreach on behalf of our Ascension community.  (Discipleship Commission)

V. PARISH PERFORMANCE MEASURES:

Parish performance will be measured by the criteria listed below.  Performance Measurements for 2011 can be found in Appendix A.

  1. Growth of weekly Mass attendance
  2. Growth of the number of parish households
  3. Reduction in the number of uncatechized children
  4. Growth in the percentage of parish young people participating in youth ministry
  5. Maintenance of annual revenue over expenses each year
  6. Maintenance of a balanced financial investment sustaining our parish ministries
  7. Maintenance of six months of operating cash in reserves consistent with National Accounting Standards for not-for-profit organizations
  8. Growth of average weekly monetary collections
  9. Reduction in the number of non-contributing parish households to monetary collections
  10. Maintenance of  parish contributions to services and ministry beyond the parish

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VI.  PARISH LIFE AND MISSION STRUCTURE:

As a result of the initial Ascension Strategic Plan in the Year 2000, commissions were formed to support major ministry areas in the parish and to advise the pastor and staff on the future development of these ministries.  In the year 2012, the strategic plan was reviewed and commissions were re-configured to better support the major ministries.  The following Parish Life and Mission Chart on page 7 outlines the commission and council structure for the Church of the Ascension to the Year 2017.  The following role descriptions outline some priorities for these commissions in guiding their area of parish ministry, working collaboratively with the Pastoral Council, pastor, and staff. Through the strategic planning process, each commission will incorporate these priorities into a comprehensive action plan for the future development of parish life and mission.

The commissions are expected to fulfill the following roles over the next several years:

  1.  Serve as the source for strategic planning for the various ministry areas of the parish.
  2. Work with other parishes as appropriate to coordinate inter-parochial efforts for pastoral ministries in consultation with the parish staff and committees.
  3. Communicate with parishioners on the trends and issues of their respective parish ministry to build the vitality of parish life.
  4. Form and educate parishioners on specific Catholic teachings and statements of the Bishops regarding their respective areas of ministry.
  5. Work with the Stewardship Commission on a parish-wide approach to the discernment and development of parish ministries through the “Sharing our Gifts” process.
  6. Recruit and orient lay ministry volunteers for service in various groups and parish ministries in their area of parish life.
  7. Provide a resource for planning and evaluation of the various volunteer ministries and groups working with those groups separately or together as needed and requested.
  8. Work with the pastoral staff to develop new efforts for parish ministry in their area of service.
  9. Provide recommendations on future funding for various parish ministries in their area of service.
  10. Communicate with the Pastoral Council through a commission liaison on needs of individual parish ministries and new opportunities for service in the future.
  11. Assist the pastor and staff in evaluating needed changes in their area of parish ministry and service.
  12. Invite and foster ongoing conversion and evangelization of parishioners and the greater community through their respective area of ministry.

 

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VI. MINISTRY ACTION PLANS:

WORSHIP COMMISSION MINISTRY ACTION PLAN

MINISTRY CORE STRATEGY A – DEEPEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST AS A EUCHARISTIC COMMUNITY
Deepen our relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic community through engaging worship, inclusive and meaningful sacramental life, a commitment to prayer, and catechesis of the entire community.

Key Decisions and Actions [Responsibility, Objective(s) Supported]

  1. Worship Commission Ministry Action Plan

     

    Ministry Core Strategy A – Deepen our Relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic Community

    Deepen our relationship with Christ as a Eucharistic community through engaging worship, inclusive and meaningful sacramental life, a commitment to prayer, and catechesis of the entire community.

     

    Key Decisions and Actions

    Objective(s) Supported

    1. Continue to record homilies on a regular basis to post to the parish website.  Produce CD recordings of same for the homebound who do not have computer access.

    A1

    1. Schedule musical concert open to the parish and community.

    A2

    1. Annually convene our liturgical ministers for formation and celebration of our ministries.

    A3

    1. Engage the Worship Office of the Archdiocese or develop our own process for conducting an assessment of our Sunday worship with an emphasis on parish vitality.

    A1, A2

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PARISH LIFE COMMISSION MINISTRY ACTION PLAN

 

Parish Life Commission Ministry Action Plan

 

 

 

Ministry Core Strategy B – Foster a Welcoming and Caring Intentional Community Without Strangers

 

Foster a welcoming, intentional, and friendly community without strangers through care for our members in need, celebration of our common life, and shared ownership of our identity.

 

 

 

Key Decisions and Actions

Objective(s) Supported

  1. Reconstitute the Vocations Awareness Committee.  Develop creative ways to promote vocations, perhaps working with the Marianists.  

B8

  1. Develop a vision for a parish-wide, integrated approach to sacramental life and formation, including invitation, catechesis, and celebration.  Create a sacramental life sub-committee of the Parish Life Commission, including the RCIA Team, Sacramental Prep Team, and Marriage Prep Team to study and develop a 5-year vision of an integrated model of parish catechesis and celebration of the sacraments.  

D3, D4, D5

  1. Support, enhance, and provide resources as appropriate to formation ministries and groups in the parish and involve them on subcommittees

D1

  1. Explore transitioning the Spiritual Renewal Team to serve as the future catalyst for small faith sharing and special interest communities.   

D2, D3, B5, B6

  1. Based on the recommendations of the Spiritual Renewal Team, implement common interest faith sharing groups desired by special groups of parishioners.   

D2, D3, B4, B5, B6

  1. Standing committees will continue to develop and enhance their current ministries (i.e. Welcoming and Hospitality, Twinning, St. Vincent de Paul, etc.). 

B1, B2, B3

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STEWARDSHIP MINISTRY ACTION PLAN

Ministry Core Strategy C – Grow our Commitment to Stewardship through a Spirituality of Gratitude

Grow our collective commitment to stewardship through a spirituality of gratitude and sharing of financial resources, care for our facilities, and the gift of time in service and leadership among one another.

 

Key Decisions and Actions

Objective(s) Supported

  1. Develop and implement an annual business plan for parish operations based on the strategic plan.  This should include:

A)    Five-year Financial Forecast

B)     Preventive Maintenance  Plan

C)     Staffing Plan

D)    Capital Improvement Plan

C1

  1. Implement a plan to increase Parish awareness of how funds are spent and what funds are needed vs. what funds are received.

C2

  1. Track the donations of the parish and parish outreach.

C3

  1. In 3 to 5 years, repeat the Planned Giving Campaign done in 2010.

C4

  1. Evaluate the space utilization of the parish properties.

C5, C6

  1. A census should be taken every ten years with the next census occurring in 2019.

C7, B6

  1. Devise a manageable system to update and consolidate each parishioner’s current parish contact information for the Parish Data System (PDS).

C7

  1. Disseminate information on each parish ministry group to our parishioners.

C2

  1. Keep a database of those parishioners involved in each ministry.

C7

  1.  Develop quarterly discernment retreats on lay formation in ministry for current and new parishioners. 

C2, B7

  1.  Implement the recommendations of the “Sharing our Gifts” Team for modifying a parish talent database. 

C7, B6

  1.  Implement new communications practices as feasible.

B6

 

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EDUCATION COMMISSION MINISTRY ACTION PLAN

Ministry Core Strategy D – Continue to Strengthen our Catechetical Mission

Continue to strengthen our catechetical mission of education in faith across the generations through religious education, Catholic school, youth ministry, and adult formation in collaboration with other parishes, the Deanery, and local universities.

 

Key Decisions and Actions

Objective(s) Supported

  1. Look at inventory of events now happening at Ascension and determine how we can rework/network to further educate and include all parish members.

D1

  1. Work with Parish Life Commission to determine small faith groups for the underserved in our parish – between the milestones of sacramental life.

D1, D3

  1. Explore alternate opportunities for learning such as virtual schooling vs. brick and mortar which we now offer.

B3

  1. Review and analyze what we already do.  What are we strong at?  How do we celebrate that?  (Blue Ribbon school).

 

  1. Continue to offer competitive programs both in the school and the RE program.

 

  1. Collaborate in the mission work of the Twinning Committee.

E2

  1. Promote Catholic Church year theme as announced each year by the Pope.

D1

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DISCIPLESHIP COMMISSION MINISTRY ACTION PLAN

Ministry Core Strategy E – Deepen our Baptismal Call to Discipleship

Deepen the baptismal call to discipleship of our members through service to those individuals, communities, and churches in need.

 

Key Decisions and Actions

Objective(s) Supported

  1. Continue our participation in the “Weavers of Justice” process of the Dayton Deanery.

E1, E3

  1. Maintain the membership of the Discipleship Commission to include 10- 12 people.

 

  1. Raise awareness of certain legislative issues with respect to Catholic Social Justice teachings or as raised by the United States Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or our bishop.

E1

  1. Provide the Worship Commission with ongoing recommendations for integrating Catholic Social Justice themes into our worship.  Make use of the “Parish Tool Kit” and other resources.

E1

  1. Offer educational opportunities on issues related to Catholic Social Justice Teachings.

E2, E3

  1. Discern the distribution of funds designated to the Discipleship Commission for use by projects and organizations that serve beyond our parish family locally, nationally and internationally.

E2, Benchmark 10

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VIII. APPENDIX A:

CALCULATIONS AND PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS FOR END OF YEAR 2011

Performance Measure Value How value was

 VIII.      Appendix A: 

Calculations and performance measurements for end of year 2011

 

Performance Measure

Value

How value was calculated

Weekly Mass Attendance

1653

October Count

Parish Households

1885

 

PDS active families

# of uncatechized children

148

PDS find total number of children (age >= 5 and age <=14) then subtract number of students in School and RE

Youth Ministry Participation

110 Students

29% of HS Students

Number of Students in Home Life Groups

Divided by the number of HS Students in the parish as measured by PDS.

Annual revenue – expenses

$181,000

End of Fiscal Year numbers

Total Revenue – Total Expenditures

Operating cash in reserves

$1,229,685

 

Total Value of Archdiocesan Notes

Weekly collections

$27,728

 

Total of Sunday Collections divided by 52

# of non contributing households

570

PDS active families with contributions = $0.

contributions beyond the parish

$130,000

Includes extra collections (i.e. religious retirement, Peter’s Pence, Campaign for Human development, St. Vincent DePaul, Rice Bowl, etc…  This number does not include non-cash donations such as Food Pantry, Giving Tree, Freedom Tree, etc…)