Unexamined costs

There are always unrealized (and so, unexamined) costs.

As much as a spreadsheet or an accountant can tell you about the raw numbers of your community, whether that’s the specific revenue and expense areas of a Catholic church alone, or a wider parish with its various ministries, or a school or ministry, there are all sorts of costs that aren’t obvious and never appear in the numbers.

One example? The cost to the health and long-term growth of your community that results from not investing in professional development for the men and women who administer the community. In more humane terms, that means the cost that results from wearing people out and from failing to regularly feed them—inspire them, and ultimately encourage them to be bolder in fostering a stronger community life.

Conferences and workshops can be useful, to a degree. But in practice, most of their value tends to be as a sort of short-term field trip for staff. How often do workshops and the expense of conferences pay off in terms of long term, habitual, and positive change and growth—either for the staff members themselves, or for the community they serve?

A subscription service like Ambo’s “Dailies” can be an example of this. There’s the objective monthly or annual cost of membership. But there’s also the question of the cost for not investing in perpetual, continual nourishment for community leaders and staff.

The unexamined cost to failing to invest in professional development? Often, that “cost” is living amidst a lukewarm community.