Why Professional Development for Staff?

By Patricia Infante, Beth Casebolt

Professional Logos-UUAMP, UUMA, LREDA, AUUA, AUUMM

Change is afoot in our congregations! Ready or not, we are all learning new skills and adapting old ways to meet emerging needs, especially your professional staff. Across our association, ministers, religious educators, administrators, music professionals and facilities staff have all stepped up and demonstrated that they are up to the challenge, sometimes “building the plane as they fly it.” As we enter our second year of virtual church and look ahead, wouldn’t it be great to build the plane before it leaves the ground? Now is a great time to ask: are you providing the resources for your staff to develop the skills they need to be successful in this new paradigm?

Serving in a congregation can be a lonely proposition and networking is critical to the success of our religious professionals. Learning together is one of the best ways to grow the skills and relationships that will enhance any vocation. Professional organizations such as the UU Ministers Association (UUMA) and the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) offer trainings and opportunities for connection but congregations must also do their part by providing both financial support and focused time for study. Our congregational staff also find a growing need for skills that aren’t part of their typical professional toolbox: things like how to do online learning or how to grow a virtual family ministry.

When thinking about professional support, don’t forget your musicians, administrators and membership professionals. Each of these areas has their own professional organization and training opportunities. Some of these are free, and some have costs. These groups have active facebook groups and email discussion lists, collegial opportunities to gather virtually and shared learning opportunities. These groups share information and research that benefits all congregations involved. But to access much of this content, one must be a member of the professional organization.

Your UUA Congregational Life staff is working across regions to engage staff and leaders in collaborative learning to address emerging ways of “doing church” and we look forward to being in this work with you. Equipping your ministries with the tools they will need as we move through 2021 and into the future will make our “return” one to truly celebrate!

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About the Authors

Patricia Infante

Patricia Hall Infante is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist who grew up in a large New York City congregation. Her first career as a contract negotiator was put on hold while she took the job of full-time mother to two wonderful boys (an investment that continues to pay dividends)....

Beth Casebolt

Beth Casebolt is the Operations Manager and Communications Consultant for the Central East Region. Prior to regionalization she served as the District Administrator for the Ohio-Meadville District, a position she held since November 2007. She is very interested in social media and website design.

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