Baldricks, "I have a cunning plan" was part ecclesiastical culture of the last part of the 20th century: small groups, Ministry to Priests, Renew, diocesan visions or vision statements, strategies of various kinds were all part of priestly life and they all seem to have disappeared almost with out trace under the sands of time. I don't dismiss them entirely but I have always felt they were displacement activity to avoid living and proclaiming the Gospel.
The Gospel depends on that most fragile of all things "a relationship", first and foremost with God but also between human beings. Faith is passed on not by schemes but "in the space within a Divine embrace". Ultimately the foundation of the Church charity or one could say Grace.
“Solving the pastoral problems that present themselves in your dioceses must never limit itself to organizational questions, however important these may be. This [approach] risks placing an emphasis on seeking efficiency through a sort of 'bureaucratization of pastoral care,' focused on structures, organizations and programs, ones which can become 'self-referential,' at the exclusive use of the members of those structures. These would have scarce impact on the life of Christians who are distanced from regular practice [of the faith]. Instead, evangelization requires starting from the encounter with the Lord, within a dialogue rooted in prayer, which then concentrates on the witness of giving itself toward the end of helping the people of our time to recognize and discover anew the signs of the presence of God.”
–Pope Benedict XVI: Ad Limina Address to the Bishops of Western France Castel Gandolfo 21 September 2012I think it is important to remember that in England apart from the two Papal visits the greatest large scale act of Evangelisation was the visit of the relics of St Therese. Here it has been events like Forty Hours, our 150th Anniversary opening Mass. I have a sense that teaching is important but so too is space, space for the touch of God, for people to come and open their hearts.
In our cunning plans Grace, Divine Providence, God himself is often excluded. God's displeasure towards David, seems to be because he places his trust in bureaucracy rather than Him.
"If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans".
In many ways the problems of the Irish and other Churches are the result of "cunning plans"; substituting management of a situation for trust in God and seeking his goodness in all things.