News: Diocese launches strategic visioning process

July 12, 2021

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The Diocese of Des Moines is launching a strategic visioning process that will inspire and guide its ministry for years to come.

Three goals underlie this initiative: Revitalize the Church and the people of the Diocese; chart and refine a sense of mission and direction; and inspire the next generation of leadership in the local Church.

Bishop William Joensen is enlisting author, teacher and organizational strategist Dan Ebener, of Quad City Leadership Consulting, to facilitate this endeavor.

Ebener has 45 years of experience working for the Church. He teaches leadership and strategic planning at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and serves the Diocese of Davenport as director of strategic planning. He assisted the Davenport Bishop Thomas Zinkula in his diocese’s Vision 2020 planning initiative, which focuses on evangelization, also known as missionary discipleship.

Ebener will collaborate with Bishop Joensen and a Steering Committee that is being formed this summer. The committee will have representation from across the Diocese. Members will prayerfully engage the people of the Diocese, invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discuss ideas for the future of the Diocese, collaborate on the generation of a new vision, and craft the new vision. The committee will look at best practices in evangelization, and consult papal and other primary Church documents.  

“My hope is this vision will navigate our path forward, align our efforts on behalf of Christ’s Kingdom as we accompany one another as a pilgrim people, deepen the bonds of communion and draw others to join us as committed disciples of Jesus,” said Bishop Joensen.

“I believe the words of the prophet Habakkuk speak powerfully to us: ‘For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late,’” he said.

Why now? As the pandemic wanes, it’s time to take a fresh look at where the Holy Spirit is leading the faithful, said Bishop Joensen.

The visioning process will consist of intense listening to people across the Diocese through a series of focus groups, interviews and a survey.

Ebener will ask a wide array of people about their thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of the Diocese of Des Moines. He’ll be talking with leadership, those active in a variety of ministries and those who are not engaged in the life of the Church to learn their perspectives.

A report from Ebener on this phase one of the process is expected by Advent 2021.

In January 2022, a second phase of the process will begin in which the Steering Committee will review the data, the feedback from interviews and focus groups and prayerfully discern the vision of the Diocese moving forward.

Strategic goals will be determined and action steps will follow with a plan outlined during the Easter season.

The Catholic Church faced many challenges prior to the pandemic. The Diocese of Des Moines is planning for a future that adapts to the needs of the faithful, accents the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the community, engages and welcomes persons seeking a relationship with God, and accompanies people on their faith journey.

Ebener said: “Many in the Church feel it is time to be more proactive about the future, to read the signs of the times and to plan a brighter future for the Catholic Church.”