Saint Brendan School resumed classes last week, and hundreds of parents filed into the church for Back-to-School Night. Students and teachers are back in the swing of things with new Principal, Dianne Lakatta, at the helm. Perhaps not as well known, however, is that “school” also is back in session for the Saint Brendan Church Parish Manager, Lisa Rosenlund.
On Wednesday, September 6, Lisa begins a series of online classes as part of a program to earn a Certificate in Church Management from the nationally-regarded School of Business and Church Management at Villanova University. The nonprofit Catholic publishing house and parish consultant group, Our Sunday Visitor, and its subsidiary, American Church Inc., are co-sponsors of the program.
The philosophy behind Villanova’s Church Management program is that, although the Church is not a business per se, it does have a responsibility to use its resources as effectively as possible to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to it. That frequently requires the use management techniques borrowed from the business world. Villanova’s course materials state that participants will be provided with “the most current thoughts on applying sound management practices in a faith-based environment.” Villanova also offers a week-long Church Management course over the summer. It developed the online program so participants would not have to take time away from work and family and incur travel costs.
Over the course of the nine-month academic year, Villanova will present twelve, 90-minute web seminars. The webcasts are interactive and participants can ask questions just like in a regular classroom. There is homework too. Lisa must submit a 3-5 page paper after each seminar, explaining how each specific webcast topic applies to her work at Saint Brendan. More than two late papers and she flunks out!
A distinguished team of presenters will cover twelve topics, including parish social responsibility, church security, civil law, leadership development, church marketing, websites, human resources, facilities management, church budgeting, social media, parishioner relations, and strategic planning. Each instructor will provide their contact information for extra help during “office hours.”
“I’m so excited to be going back to school and hope I never stop learning!” said Lisa. “I feel a responsibility to be a good steward of the resources given to Saint Brendan Church by generous parishioners, and I am eager for new ideas to improve my ministry to this community.” Vicar for Administration and Moderator of the Curia at the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Father John Piderit, is intrigued by the “interesting new program” and is excited to hear about the results. Indeed, the program has garnered overwhelming positive reviews from parishes around the country. Indeed, the Archdiocese of Atlanta was so impressed that it has decided to sponsor one person per parish to earn the certificate.
“This program is going to prove to be invaluable to Saint Brendan Parish,” said Father Roger. “As Lisa continues to hone her administrative and pastoral skills, we will certainly see the dividends paying off in spades.” So, if you run into Lisa around the campus this year, ask her how her homework is coming.
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