Career Development for Ministers, Becoming a Minister, Support and Caring in Congregations
Developed by Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland
Here are some reflection questions that can be adapted for a variety of uses and contexts, including
- by individuals in preparation for ministry
- by a vocational advisior working with an aspirant or candidate
- as topics for student and minister gatherings
- What are your earliest religious or spiritual experiences? What has been their impact on you?
- Have you experienced a crisis of faith? What brought it into being? How did you resolve it?
- What is the core of your religious belief? How has that changed over time?
- When did you first consider becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister? What prompted you to move toward ministry? What concerns/resistance did you have? How has your call to ministry deepened/changed over time?
- To which aspects of ministry do you feel most drawn? Why? Which aspects of ministry give you cause for concern? Which aspects of ministry do you feel will challenge you the most? Why? How will you deal with this reality?
- What core religious values have inspired you/guided you (e.g., gratitude, generosity, trust, compassion, forgiveness, humility, beauty, awe, hope, etc.)? In what experience(s) are these grounded? How have these values supported you?
- What negative life-experiences (from childhood or later) have you encountered (e.g., death of a loved one, broken home, significant illness, loss of a dream, etc.) and what was their impact (e.g., brokenness, despair, abandonment, evil, fear, sorrow, grief, etc.)?
- How did/does the religious tradition of your childhood nurture you? How did/does the religious tradition of your childhood disappoint you?
- What were some of the earliest and/or most significant instances of injustice that you experienced or witnessed? What impact did they have? How did they change you? How do they/will they inform your ministry?
- Of which accomplishment(s) are you most proud? Why? What did you learn from them?
- What experiences in life have you found the most challenging? Why?
- Who were the heroes of your childhood? Adolescence? Adulthood? Why did/do you value them?
- Have you experienced significant failures or disappointments? How did they impact you? How have you used those experiences?
- When did you first encounter Unitarian Universalism? What elements of our religious tradition are most meaningful to you? What elements of Unitarian Universalism do you find most compelling? Most challenging? Most problematic? How have you grown/matured as a Unitarian Universalist?
- Which historical Unitarians, Universalists, or Unitarian Universalists are most meaningful to you? Why?
- What is one of your favorite Unitarian Universalist hymns? Why?
- To which sacred literature are you most drawn? Why? To which world religions? Why?
- To which Unitarian Universalist congregations have you belonged? What did you especially value about those congregations? What frustrated you?
- In terms of ministry, who are your models and mentors? What characteristics of the ministers that you know do you value most? Why?
- As a Unitarian Universalist, how would you describe your core beliefs and/or theology?
- Do you have a spiritual practice? What is it? How does it nurture you?
- In terms of your academic preparation for ministry, what courses and areas of study are you drawn to? How are these interests forming you as a minister?
- In what ways do you regard ministry as a spiritual practice or a spiritual path?
- What are your gifts for ministry? What are ministry’s gifts to you?
- What do you feel contributes to excellence in ministry? What gets in the way of such excellence?
- What is your vision of ministry? In terms of ministerial formation, what are your growing edges related to your vision?