Activity 3: Sharing Our Leadership Stories

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Post a sheet of newsprint. Title it, "Early Leadership Experiences," and write these questions:
    • How did the experience feel at the time?
    • How did you learn and grow from the experience?
    • What were your hopes and fears in taking on that leadership role?
  • Prepare another sheet of newsprint with the title "Becoming a Leader in a Congregation." Write these questions:
    • How did you first became a lay leader in a congregation?
    • What role did you have?
    • Why and how did you take on that position?
    • What were your hopes and fears in taking on that leadership role?
    • How did your personal faith and beliefs affect your decision to be a leader?
    • Before you became a lay leader, what were your perceptions of being a lay leader in your congregation?
  • Prepare a third sheet of newsprint with the title, "Leadership Perceptions and Experience," and this question:
    • How has your experience either changed or confirmed your perception of what it means to be a lay leader?

Description of Activity

This activity invites participants to tell their own leadership journey. This activity has three parts, offering participants an opportunity to reflect in turn on their early leadership experiences, their congregational leadership experiences, and their perceptions of what it means to be a lay leader.

Some may be new lay leaders in the congregation, some may be longstanding lay leaders and some may be leaders in their professional lives. Acknowledge that everyone is in a different place on their leadership journey, yet participants in this workshop have in common that they have taken on (or are at least considering) the role of lay leader.

First, indicate the newsprint you have posted. Invite participants to recall their early experiences in leadership using the questions provided - childhood and adolescent experiences as well as adult ones. After a minute, invite participants to turn to a partner and share their experiences and responses to the questions listed on the newsprint. Tell them each partner will have three minutes to share. Remind them when it is time for the second partner to share.

Next, post the second sheet of newsprint. Invite participants to use the questions provided to recall the circumstances of their first becoming a leader in this or a previous congregation. After a minute, invite participants to share with the same partner their experiences and their responses to the questions. Tell them each partner will have five minutes to share. Remind them when it is time for the second partner to share.

Finally, post the third sheet of newsprint. Invite participants to consider their current experience and perceptions of their leadership role in the congregation. After a minute, invite participants to share with the same partner their responses to the question on the newsprint. Tell them each partner will have five minutes to share. Remind them when it is time for the second partner to share.

Re-gather the large group. How was the experience of sharing leadership stories? Were there any surprises or revelations as they told their own stories or heard the story of another?

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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