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Evaluating Church Organisations by the Light of Lumen Gentium

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A Dialogue between Ecclesiology and Management Theory

image of Ecclesiology

Rapid growth in the field of management science in recent decades has resulted in a plethora of resources for leadership and management in the Church. How should ecclesiologists respond to this trend? This essay highlights the importance of a theologically-grounded approach to managing church organisations. In particular, it examines a foundational document in the Catholic tradition from the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, to draw implications for evaluating church organisations. Most studies on Lumen Gentium have focused on one or other aspect of its multiply-rich content. This analysis, however, on the recent 50th anniversary of the document’s promulgation in November 1964, recaps its overall message through a triple hermeneutics of author, text and receiver and brings this message into dialogue with the modern-day challenge of managing church organisations. It will be proposed that the real fruitfulness of these organisations depends on the extent to which they manifest the Church’s nature and mission as a sacrament of salvation for the world. The implications of this are then translated into a framework for evaluating church organisations.

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