Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good management and pastoral care

Bishop Nick: "Because the dichotomy between ‘pastoral’ and ‘managerial’ is a false one – and a dangerous one. What some people mean by ‘pastoral’ (when asking for it in a bishop) is someone who won’t challenge, who is malleable and won’t interfere too much. But pastoral care begins with getting the administration, communication and ‘business’ right: how do you respect someone who says they care for you pastorally when they then double-book you, fail to reply to letters or emails and don’t do what they promise to do?

A bishop is called to be an accountable steward of the resources of people and stuff/things. He is not called primarily to be ‘nice’ or popular. If niceness and popularity follow, then that is fine; but episcopal leadership and ministry are not good for people who want to be everybody’s friend. The alternative to good management of the resources God gives us is, presumably, bad management. Can anybody show me how bad management equates to good pastoral care?"

Something I've been pondering a lot.


  1. I've thought about this a lot too, and I don't think it only relates to bishops.

    I find administration is the first line of pastoral care. My sense is that people in the parish will feel more confident that the priest will be there in an emergency if a priest is there for the quotidian: answering phone calls and emails, showing up on time and prepared for meetings, etc. But that's what he said.

  2. The whole thing is riddled with false dichotomies: "accountable steward" vs "niceness" (with "niceness" being equated to "pastoral care before good management"); "bad management" vs "good pastoral care". Why does it have to be either / or (or even if this / then that)?

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