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Doctoral Project Abstract

Designing Catholic Parishes as Leaderful Organizations: St Peter the Apostle Church

Emmanuel Agbor
Regent University

The Catholic Church currently operates from the hierarchical and functional leadership and organizational model, which has served the Church well for hundreds of years. However, because of the changes in the contemporary organizational environment, this leadership model and structure is less relevant and effective today. In the Church's present leadership and organizational model, the life of the parish is centered on one person; the pastor. The pastor is so dominant that he takes all the important decisions in the parish alone. However, if the Church must continue to be effective and meet the needs of its members and the world in the 21st century, it must change its leadership structure and model to a more collaborative and participatory one.

This project is a consulting program for redesigning Catholic parishes as "Leaderful Organizations". This leadership paradigm is based on the concept and practice of leadership that involves everyone in the leadership of the organization. It is a model of leadership that transforms leadership from an individual property to a collective practice (Realin, 2003). The purpose of the project is to develop and introduce a new model for restructuring, transforming, and leading Catholic parishes.

This project focuses on St Peter the Apostle Church, Houston Texas, which represents a typical traditional Catholic parish, with functions and leadership structures that are typical of most Catholic parishes. However, at this time the parish is passing through a period of transformation with a new pastor who is introducing new ideas and practices in the parish. In this project, through face-to-face interviews and observation of the parish leadership practice, I conducted a thorough evaluation of the organizational structure, internal operations and process of St Peter the Apostle Church to determine how its present leadership structure and model work and how it affects the effectiveness of the church. I made recommendations concerning changes to the organizational and leadership model the parish needs. I also outlined the implementation of the new leadership design for the parish. 

Ultimately, this project seeks to equip pastoral leaders in the Catholic Church with new leadership and organizational paradigm and a practical tool to enable them transform their parishes and help them become more effective in the 21st century environment.

Realin, J. (2003). The leaderful organization: how to bring out leadership in everyone. Berrett-koehler publishers inc. San Francisco.

For more information regarding this project please contact