A successful church, fellowship, or congregation isn't only about numbers. We need to survey and poll current congregations and figure out just what successful means to members and ministers. Then spend real time getting to the core of what practices make these institutions work. This information could then be compiled and sent to ministers, lay leaders, and congregational presidents in a simple to use format that is divided into easy to implement plans.
Things like how successful ministers or churches;
avoid the crisis management spiral,
handle dissent and concern,
address committee work burn out,
decide when and how to expand,
focus on the larger community,
address theology and spiritual practice,
integrate religious, cultural, gender, and age specific groups,
Current models which take place in workshops at busy GA weekends are unattainable by 98% of Adult members, and persons motivated to take part in these workshops are likely already experiencing the problems listed above. We should get the information and ideas out there in order to avoid problems and reinvigorate our collective culture.
This sounds like the sort of thing that the UUA probably already does. And I'm certain Steve will rush to tell us if this is the case.
Much of this already exists on the UUA web site:
InterConnections Lay Leader Resources
Another resource is the wide range of email lists for sharing concerns and ideas with other Unitarian Universalists:
Overview of uua.org mailing lists
Also, most GA workshops are summarized online and congregations can purchase audio recordings of the workshops as well.
We can probably find better ways to do this but it's being done already today ... problem solved, case closed.
It's also the sort of thing we might do at a Chalistry.
Much of the stuff that people write about things like this is hopelessly abstract and platitudinal -- it puts people to sleep rather than helping to change how they deal with daily problems. I'd like to change that.
I'm glad to hear iti s already being done, now I wonder why it is not being used, because nearly every church, minister, and congregational president i have ever met is dealing with some or all of those problems.
Some folks are already sharing best practices. Email discussion lists may seem archaic compared to blogs, but you may want to check these two email lists as representative ways that congregational leaders can share ideas, brainstorm solutions, etc:
Reach-l -- Discussion and sharing of UU Religious Education
UU-Leaders -- Sharing information & support among UU lay leaders
I wonder why some congregational leaders don't consider networking between congregations through electronic means. I know that every UU congregation is unique but I doubt that they are so unique that the experiences of one congregation might help other congregations.
Along with getting answers to current-day concerns, lists like REACH-L and UU-Leaders have searchable online archives dating back to the mid-1990s.
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