Villanova University Center Specializes in Church Management

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA * One of the few places in the country where church administrators can get a graduate degree in church management is at the School of Business at Augustinian-run Villanova University in Philadelphia, the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania.

"People say the church is not a business, and they're absolutely right," said Charles Zech, director of Villanova's six-year-old Center for the Study of Church Management. But the church "has a responsibility to use Its facilities and resources effectively," he added, and that's where the effective business management techniques come into play. "It's really about responsible stewardship," he said.

NCR interviewed Zech after a daylong parish technology summit hosted by the center. The Feb. 25 summit drew about 200 diocesan and parish ministry leaders, mainly from the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

The center, established in 2004, now offers a Master of Science degree in church management, mainly through online courses. Zech said the chief goal is to help people who came up through the ranks of ministry in the church and now find themselves thrust into administrative positions with little or no background in how to manage personnel, handle institutional finances or deal with issues of civil and canon law that come with positions in church administration. …