Parish Management and Operations: The Buck Stops Here by Michael A. Brinda

Coming Winter, 2018


How often have we heard the sayings, “It’s harder than it looks” and “If it were easy everyone would be doing it”?
These sayings were never more appropriate than when they are applied to the field of parish management and operations. Every how and why detail in parish management and operations . . . is in fact a lot harder than it looks. Take a look as some of the content of this book and ask yourself if you have mastery over these topics— because every one of them and many more are integral to establishing superior parish management and operations:

Chapter   1   The Tyranny of How Over Why

Chapter 10   Parish Management and the Parish Mission Statement: A Codependent Relationship

Chapter 14   The Creation of Want

Chapter 19   The Buck Stops in PMO

Chapter  21  The Relationship of Performance to Culture

Chapter  40  On Turnover

Chapter  43  PMO Strategic Plan Science

Chapter  51  The Art of Achieving Superior Execution

Chapter  56  On The Art and Science of Strategic Plan Creation

Chapter  59  On Rejection and Failure

Chapter  62  The Primary Hiring Foundational Principle

Chapter  74  On Firing


“This book is the greatest book on management I have ever read. It’s good for any field. Filled with wisdom you will not find anywhere else.” – Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, Vice-President of External Affairs, Holy Apostles College & Seminary, Cromwell, CT

“It’s too easy to use being spiritual as a reason for neglecting the basic principles of human management and organisation within parishes. Using a conversational, accessible style, and drawing on his extensive business experience, Michael Brinda applies the practical to the spiritual in a book which anyone interested in successful parish management should read. Not always comfortable because it challenges assumptions which may have deep roots, this book will give structure and process to the complex task of making church, or indeed any Christian organisation, effective.” – David Strachan, Former Parish Minister, Managing Director, Tern TV


Review by Archeparch of Asmara and Metropolitan of Eritrea, East Africa, Abune Menghesteab Tesfamariam, MCCJ, 1/17/2018

Michael A. Brinda’s book on Parish Management Operations deals with the foundational principles of effective pastoral work in a given Parish. It aims at getting better results by avoiding the persistence of a broken culture.

He proposes that using successful business principles without becoming business-like is the way to an effective and successful parish management. This, of course, is worth the try. Identifying the presence of different gifts, needs and sharing responsibilities (delegating) in the parish is the starting point for such successful Parish Management Operations. He writes,

“Culture is the force that animates and motivates people, thereby creating a
correct working environment and now bringing us to this important additional
insight: it is a derivative of the correct culture that provides the PMO adminis-
trator with the foundational framework for accurately measuring all results.”

When this does not take place, in the long run culture becomes weighty bureaucracy; hence, instead of helping PMO it becomes a hindrance if not a deviation to it. It becomes a “broken culture”, resistant to any novelty.

Mike Brinda’s effort to bring new and creative initiative is therefore most welcome. I would like to congratulate him for his commitment to the improvement of pastoral methodology. It is sure that many people of our time will make the best use of such a proposal and benefit from its practical suggestions.

Review by Deacon Marty McIndoe on the memorial of St. Anthony the Great of Egypt, 1/17/2018

In the book of Revelation (3:15-16) Jesus tells the church at Laodicea “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” In my travels I have seen many Catholic churches and there are very few that really seem “hot”, even fewer that seem “cold”, but many that seem “lukewarm”. If you are currently ministering in a church that is lukewarm, or perhaps we should say, mediocre, and you are content with that mediocrity, then this book is not for you. However, if you want a church that is hot, or exemplary or superior, then this is the book for you. I would go so far to say that this book could lead to a totally changed Church worldwide. Unfortunately too many people are leaving the faith and many of our parishes are suffering. This book could stop that exodus and actually help to bring people back.

The author, Michael A. Brinda, combines his obvious business management skills with a deep faith that the Church is called to serve God’s people. He tells us that we must serve God’s people in an exemplary way. There is no room for mediocrity in the Church. This involves all people in all ministries in the Church. We, lay or ordained, are all called to superior service. Thus this book is not just for pastors. It is for anyone in a leadership/ministry role in the parish. There is no doubt that the ways of the pastor most influence the culture of the parish and it is extremely important for all pastors to read this book. I have worked in parish leadership ministry for over 40 years, 37 plus of them as an ordained deacon. This book changed my thoughts on how a parish should be managed.

At the very heart of the author’s message is the idea that each parish needs a good Parish Management person who is trained in how to bring about exemplary, not mediocre, ministry from parish personnel. He believes, rightly so, that we need to look at the culture of the parish (which probably has been formed and perpetuated for many years) and that you cannot try to change this culture, but that you must kill it and then install a new culture. If this seems difficult to you; it is. However, the author gives us many tools to help bring this about. I was very impressed by the tools that he gives us. There is no doubt that this hard work will bring about what God calls us to be and do. Using the words of the author, “And why do we bother with this process? As always, so that we can serve greatly those we are called to serve. If something were worth doing at all, why wouldn’t it be worth doing in a superior way? Are the barriers to superior performance too tough and too high for you overcome? No. Never.”

I received my degree in Business Administration – Management and worked my entire career in management and I can tell you that the tools and wisdom given by the author in this book are exemplary. I am also an ordained deacon for 38 years now and have worked even more than that in parish ministry. This book is not just a book written by a businessman to apply to the Church. It is written by a businessman who has a deep faith and knows that the Church is called to use all of its resources in an exemplary way to spread the Good News and to serve the People of God. The Church is in dire need of this book.

The good news is that this book is well written and easily read. Putting what it says in to practice will be difficult, but all of us know that you can’t accomplish anything great without hard work. Throughout the book, the author gives us numerous quotes from a wide variety of individuals from spiritual writers to business writers to pop culture individuals. He makes the book an interesting read. I was really disappointed when it ended. I wanted more. If you are in any type of parish ministry, especially leadership roles, this book is for you. Do yourself a favor and read the book. It will benefit you, the Church and the building of the Kingdom of God.


About the Author:

Michael Brinda founded New Horizons Computer Learning Centers ( in 1982, started franchising around the world in 1992, and sold New Horizons to a public company in 1994.

Prior to founding New Horizons, Michael serviced and taught mainframe and mini-computer technology worldwide for Sperry Univac. He was an Ernst & Young 1994 Entrepreneur of the Year award winner.

Michael is currently active in Kairos Prison Ministry, has taught RCIA and has conducted Communion Services in prison. He previously worked for four years as a parish business manager in a large, multi-cultural parish. He is a speaker at Cursillo, Kairos, and Legatus.

Michael’s specialties include building worldwide enterprise, entrepreneurship, leadership, management, franchising, sales systems, marketing, technology, and strategy.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in History in the Social Sciences and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, Summa Cum Laude,  and is a Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa – from Holy Apostles College & Seminary, located in Cromwell, CT.

Michael has been married 42 years to his wife, Kathy, and has three children and four grandchildren.