Open Source or Best Practice?


from the UUA website

What does the UUA recommend? What is the right way to do XYZ? These are questions that district and regional staff get asked all the time. We are, after all, the “go to” persons, the “experts” who have made a career in church work. Because I have gotten to know fairly well roughly 50 congregations of all sizes in 9 states, yes, I have seen a lot of mistakes which can be avoided and many things that worked well. And our UUA, drawing on the experience of 1000 congregations, can indeed speak with some authority about best practices.

On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times something has been tried which bucks the conventional wisdom, yet works! Recently I have been reading Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All by Landon Whitsitt. He discusses the collective wisdom of crowds as opposed to the views of select experts like me. An Open Source Church is always in flux, changing and evolving, and thus stands a better chance of surviving in a changing world. But it is scary! By accepting new members we give them power to change the mission and ministry of MY church. Is nothing sacred?

Should we be open to the wisdom of the crowds OR the wisdom of the ages? The answer of course is YES! There is a dynamic tension between roots and wings, navel gazing and star gazing. May we work on finding the balance between each in our personal and congregational lives.

Karen LoBracco
Lifespan Faith Development Consultant