Critical to the success of an in care program is good communication with and among all the stakeholders: students, ministers, congregations. It is also important to establish internal communication and tracking mechanisms for the planning team or steering committee.
Communication with Stakeholders
Use an easily accessible and agreed upon social media platform for group communications to announce student-minister gatherings, collect information, offer updates on the program, and so on. Be sure that both students and ministers (especially vocational advisors) are included in the group communication.
It is possible that students will start their own social media group in order to communicate with each other. Be clear that such a group, while helpful, is not an “official” conduit for information about the incare program.
In addition, the person with the communications portfolio may wish to create or enlist help in creating a website to educate the larger public about the program. Such a site could provide general information for people in discernment, prospective students, the theological school, congregations interested in the program, ministers new to the area. Link it to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) district or regional website and to any Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) chapter website.
Internal Communication and Tracking
Planning Team or Steering Committee Documents
Select a web-based file storage platform such as Google Docs or Dropbox and share the folders and files with all steering committee members. Create folders to store information, including meeting agendas and minutes, committee roles and responsibilities, financial information and grant proposals, student needs, student-minister gathering schedules and outlines, and whatever else might be re-used in the future.
The person who holds the communications portfolio on the steering committee is responsible for the creation and maintenance of tracking documents.
Participant Information Sheet
The participant information sheet tracks the progress of anyone who receives support from your in care program, including those in discernment, students, interns, and ministers in preliminary fellowship. The sheet should include:
- Home Congregation
- Theological School
- Part-time or full-time student
- Current Status (Discernment, Applicant, Aspirant, Candidate, Preliminary Fellowship, Final Fellowship)
- RSCC Results, if applicable
- Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) Date
- MFC Result
- MDiv Graduation Date
- Current Vocational Advisor
Vocational Advisor Matching History
The Vocational advisor matching history offers insight into the longevity of matches between ministers and students, the number of students a minister has advised, the current capacity of a certain minister for fewer or more matches. It includes:
- Participant Name
- Academic year(s) and name of vocational advisor matched with the participant for the year(s)