Form a Steering Committee for Your In Care Program

As your in care program expands and requires additional organizational support, transition from a planning team which communicates through phone calls and holds just two or three meetings per year to a steering committee which meets monthly. Include original members of the planning team for at least one year to provide continuity.

Organizational Structure

The project facilitator  is the convener of the steering committee.

Each member of the steering committee manages a portfolio of activity. Portfolios include but are not limited to:

  • Student liaison
  • Discernment
  • Ministerial formation process
  • Communication
  • Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) assessment preparation

The student liaison is a paid position. It should be filled by a minister who recruits and trains other ministers to serve as professional advisors and matches them with students. This person also organizes student-minister gatherings.

The discernment portfolio is managed by a minister who has strong pastoral skills and the ability to listen without over-directing. This minister meets with someone in discernment two to three times. Helpful tools for these meetings are described in the program resource section.

The minister who holds the ministerial formation process portfolio is very familiar with the UUA ministerial fellowship process, makes regular presentations for groups of students, and knows how to direct an aspirant or candidate to answers for formation questions.

A minister or lay person leads the communication portfolio and helps provide visibility for the in care program and clarity for the participants about the program particulars.

A minister or lay person on the steering committee leads the effort to support seminarians as they prepare for interviews by the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC). Because the MFC includes lay members, it is particularly useful to have lay people involved in interview preparation.


To maximize effectiveness, we recommend that the steering committee meet monthly for two hours, dedicating 45 minutes of that time to a strategic discussion led by one or two committee members. All action items from one meeting to the next should be completed and reported by email rather during monthly meetings. Financial statements provided by the district or region should be reviewed quarterly.


To ensure sustainability of the program, each member of the steering committee serves a three year term renewable for one term by vote of the committee. Staggered terms help create continuity.