New book by Fr Evan Armatas
Earlier this year I read Fr. Evan’s “Toolkit for Spiritual Growth: A Practical Guide to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.” I appreciated the discussion questions and reflections in that book and likewise the format of this newest book.
Fr. Evan has done an excellent job of laying out steps a parish can take to improve it’s spiritual health. I will be purchasing copies for my priest and parish council members (I am a Church School Director) as I believe it will help us especially as we are recovering from the trauma of separation during the pandemic.
Fr. Evan has organized this book just like a roadmap; with steps, directions, resources, and discussion questions to best help leaders improve their communication and decide the purpose of the Great Commission in their own parishes. Through this “Parish Health Plan” readers are encouraged to start with our own spiritual improvements and reflections before we move to a group discussion on matters that will most likely raise hairs. Yet, these discussions must happen in order to provide the clear and healthy direction that parishes need to take to maintain the mission of the Gospels to spread the love of Christ to all peoples.
Matt 28:19-20 serves as the final destination spot of this book and in order to reach it Fr. Evan lays out some pit stops that we need to carefully fulfill first. Chapter 1 gives tips on how to choose what is most important to your parish, Ch. 2 has five essentials of starting the journey, Ch. 3 gives tips for parish health (commitment to the gospel, relationship building, and organization are some). Chapters 4 and 5 discuss common barriers or “road blocks.” Ch. 6 lays out the aspects of healthy leadership (humility is key). Chapter 7 lays out a parish health plan, making sure your parish is on the right track by forming a committee to make sure communication and follow through happens. Few things are more frustrating in a leadership group (such as a parish council) than inefficiency and a lack of follow through with commitments that the group makes.
Ultimately, this book is an excellent resource that all parish leadership should consider using in order to create a healthy and communicative environment that the Gospel can be lived out under. I recommend this book for anyone in religious leadership and appreciate Fr. Evan’s conclusion to “take things one step at a time” or to continue our roadtrip analogy “one pit stop” at a time.
Available here from Ancient Faith Publishing
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