Like any business leader today, a church leader in the 21st century needs foundational knowledge that touches on all aspects of running an organization, including management, human resources, technology, law, finance, and ethics. But unlike most business leaders, church leaders need that practical know-how to be grounded in the spiritual principles and language of the Christian faith.
Leaders in Church Management
Summer school? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Apparently, I do though.
Remember when I went to Philly back in June? Me neither, it was so long ago. However, it was for the Residency Week, the start of a two-year Master of Science in Church Management (MSCM) degree. I hope to graduate in May 2025. My first class has been on ethics, theology, and leadership.
I’m very excited to share that the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall is now in partnership with Villanova University! Their MSCM program will increase the capability of more people in our Archdiocese to utilize sound business practices in a mission-driven church. The MSCM opportunity is open to parishioners and clergy. It is a great program meant to encourage leaders and future leaders.
The Church is not a business but an organization. Everything we do is to share the Gospel. It is fundamental for us to amplify the Gospel in everything we do. It is also at the heart of the MSCM degree, and to find ways to minimize obstacles.
The Center for Church Management in the Villanova School of Business offers a two-year, online MSCM degree. The only degree of its kind, this program features a business curriculum catered to leading Christ-centered organizations and is suited for both laypersons and ordained ministers. Classes are fully integrated with language and lessons that support the ministry and mission of the Catholic church.
The M.S. in Church Management from a Prestigious Catholic Business School, is open to everyone, from different denominations. Students learn to steward the human, financial, and other resources of the church from the University ranked #3 for Best Online Graduate Business Program from U.S. News & World Report. After the one week on Villanova campus, courses are taught entirely online, emphasizing community and interaction.
In the class of 2025, we are twenty six people representing many different countries – US, India, Kenya, Africa, Ghana, Colombia, Mexico, Philippines, and one (me) from Canada. As the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall continues to discern changes this fall, the program helps me better understand what parish renewal, structural changes and possible church closures will mean.
I was very impressed with my colleagues in our cohort and sharing why they enrolled. Some want to grow in leadership, and confidence, others want help to deal with conflict and how to become an effective pastor. Many who worked at different dioceses are looking to improve their skills at running parishes, and different departments. Another involved in Catholic schools, is looking to improve the Catholic education for his families. However, it was clear that everyone wants to grow in self-leadership – looking for new opportunities to embrace our vocation and help the mission.
One of my colleagues shared with our group a story from when he was in elementary school. He remembers hearing a teacher tell us, “Inspire others before you expire.” Anyone who finds themselves in ministry can relate with this. It also echoes what Saint John of the Cross said, “when you present yourself for leadership, you present yourself to be molded by everyone you serve. Others will mold you by their words and others by their actions and that’s the moment for you to inspire them! So successful leadership is a challenge and an opportunity to grow.”
The MSCM degree reminds me that education and leadership is ongoing, and we are all challenged to progress not perfection. When one becomes a leader, it should be looked less as an achievement than as a calling. Each day I am overwhelmed with joy knowing God has called me to work in His vineyard.
If you are interested in learning more about the MSCM degree, please email or call me. The opportunity to grow is an essential, and often forgotten, aspect of leadership. It’s a reminder to me of the Universal Call to Holiness that the Second Vatican Council stressed, reminding us that we are all here to help one another get to Heaven. We as priests are called to be leaders in our parishes, our dioceses and the Universal Church. But we are also called to learn from those whom we are called to serve. Looking to forward in hearing from you. Peace.