The Countdown Begins

Matter 15 Conference is now less than a month away. Whether you are looking for tools for widening your evangelistic reach to the unchurched, or new ways to deepen the faith of disciples already in your pews, this is a conference for everyone involved in parish leadership. In fact, there’s no other conference out there […]

Reality Check: Signs Your Parish Might Be in Maintenance Mode

The tug of day-to-day church culture will always be away from Evangelization and Discipleship and toward simple maintenance. Why? Because it’s easier and church people will always try and drive the culture that direction. In maintenance mode parishioners don’t do any of the work and get all the attention, so why wouldn’t they lean that […]

If You Like Pope Francis…

Two of the most highly contagious things in the world are 1) a smile, and 2) a yawn. Depending on where you go, you’ll find both of them in our churches. One thing about Pope Francis is that he is always smiling. More than his provocative wisdom, what really keeps people engaged is his contagious […]

52% Have Walked Away, Now What? How About Make Church Matter

Things are certainly abuzz around the Catholic Church in America these days. With less than a week until Pope Francis’ historic first visit to the United States, some heavy theological debates on the table, and a whirlwind year of intense political change and debate, it’s hard to stay focused on our parish ministry. On the […]

Eight (Completely Reasonable) Excuses Why First-Time Guests Don’t Return to Your Church

There are many reasons why people never come to church. But there are others who try coming and, based on their experience, decide not to come back. Here’s a list of some of the most common reasons and responses given by first-time guests. They may sound superficial to the committed churchgoer, but they matter to […]

Why Everyone Is Talking About Evangelization (and very few parishes are actually doing anything about it)

Suddenly, everyone in churchworld is talking about Evangelization. You want to know why? Several reasons. First, because everyone else is talking about it. Second, because it seems like a nice idea. Third, because the Pope and the bishops are all talking about it. Fourth, hopefully, because Jesus told us to do it. Fifth, probably because […]

Stop Making Excuses

In our travels we meet lots and lots of parish leaders. We have talked to pastors, parish life directors, faith formation directors, youth ministers, parish administrators. They have come from every kind of parish in every kind of demographic. And because of the types of events we typically speak at, most all of the parishes […]

Vision Campaign Update

After several years of planning, in the spring of 2014 we announced plans for a new 1500 seat sanctuary. To finance the project we also at that time launched a campaign. Far from an old fashion fundraiser, the “Vision” campaign, as we came to call it, was presented as a spiritual exercise. No one was […]


Matter has mass and occupies volume. Our Catholic faith is grounded in matter: The Sacraments of the Church and the Incarnation of the Lord all rely on matter. Our parish churches are all about matter: people, buildings, a geographical location, and parish boundaries. Matter also refers to meaning and importance and is a value we […]

A Simple Essential of Growing Healthy Parishes

One of the most effective things you can possibly do to grow a healthy parish that is easy to get started, not particularly demanding when it comes to maintenance, and, best of all, free: Greeters. Really? Yeah, really. There are lots of reasons people give us for how they found their way to our church, […]