Congregational Programs for Adult Faith Development

Group photo of Harvest the Power facilitators in Northern New England.

Facilitators-in-training prepare to bring Harvest the Power, which builds leadership skills hand-in-hand with faith, to lay leaders across northern New England.

Programs for Adult Faith Development vary from congregation to congregation, but may include:

  • Workshops for new Unitarian Universalists
  • Workshops about topics of interest to Unitarian Universalists, including history, theology, ethics, and scripture
  • Programs and service projects that address the social justice issues important to the congregation
  • Book and film discussion groups
  • Small Group Ministries, which meet over time and allow participants to get to know others and themselves more deeply
  • Affinity and support groups, such as those for parents, elder caregivers, or those struggling with addiction
  • Spiritual practice groups, such as yoga or meditation groups.

Curious about what is offered at your local congregation? Check the congregation's website or call.

Responsibility for designing, supporting, and evaluating adult faith development programs may rest with religious professionals or lay leaders, but it is often some combination of the two. If you are a congregational leader looking to strengthen adult offerings, a good first step is to notice what is already going on for adults and to recognize what is going well and meeting the needs of congregants. Only then can you turn your attention to strengthening or shaping your program.

Here are some resources to help you, whether you are looking for guidance on revamping or updating your entire program, or simply looking for a curriculum. Let us know how you use these resources, and if there are other helpful links you would like to have included.

Begin or Restart an Adult Faith Development Program

Find Program Curricula and Resources

Support Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups

  • Guidance for beginning a small group ministry program can be found in the book The Complete Guide to Small Group Ministry: Saving the World Ten at a Time, by Robert L. Hill, or at the website of the Small Group Ministry Network, an organization of Unitarian Universalists supporting the spiritual practice of small group ministry in our congregations.
  • There are a number of sources for small group ministry session plans. Find a complete list on the Small Group Ministry page.

Lead or Facilitate Programs

For how to effectively lead an adult faith development workshop, discussion group, or committee meeting, see Sharing the Floor: Some Strategies for Effective Group Facilitation.

Review Accessibility Guidelines for Adult Workshop Presenters.

Connect with Other Congregations

Subscribe to the Adult-RE Email List and/or check for events in your region.

Chalice stained glass

Chalice window, Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, Fairlawn, OH

  • Rachel Carson and Earth Day: Go Outside!

    Pat Kahn

    From Call and Response
    A colleague reminded me about a campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. It included practicing one environmental, earth-friendly personal action every day from Earth Day until...
  • Preventable Suffering: A UU with Autism Confronts "Coffee Hour"
    From Call and Response
    Ramon Selove and his wife, Shellie Selove, are Our Whole Lives sexuality education facilitator trainers. They are members of the Unitarian Universalist...
  • Is Children's Literature Too White?

    Susan Lawrence

    From Call and Response
    I was a child with curiosity about the whole world. I made my first explorations through books. Among my early discoveries were these: (1) the world is...

More from Call and Response

Beginning or Restarting an Adult Faith Development Program

Watch this webinar from May 2014.


Seated adults gathered around a chalice table for a discussion

Adult Discussion at Unitarian Universalist Society: East, Manchester, CT.