General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

How to Build Meaning: Full Social Justice Ministry Teams

General Assembly 2012 Event 246

Program Description

Speaker: Rev. Joan Montagnes

It takes more than passion to save the world. Learn how to build sustainable, theologically grounded, strategically based Social Justice ministry teams that will engage your whole congregation. Explore a method for developing or focusing your concerns about immigration, an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural (ARAOM), peace, poverty, the environment and more.

A Seven Point Plan

  1. Name.* What is the proposed name of you ministry team? It can be as plain or as imaginative as you like, however the more imaginative you are, the less people will instantly understand your intentions and activities.
  2. Purpose. What is the purpose of your ministry team? What will your proposed ministry do to improve the state of the world? One or two sentences.
  3. A ministry team must be made up of at least five people. One person is a lone voice in the wilderness with little connection. Two people can have a conversation. Three people may be able to pull something off for a little while. Four people can certainly hold regular meetings for a while and may not be fully connected to the congregation. But five people can represent the broad-base of the congregation and five people can achieve anything if they set their hearts and minds to it. Also, in a team of five, if one or even two people miss a meeting, the team is still large enough to continue its ministry.
  4. Theological Motivation.* Why is your Social Justice ministry church? What is your spiritual reason for doing this? What in your heart inspires you to devote yourself to this ministry? What motivates you? You don’t need a ten page justification filled with quotes from long-dead theologians. You don’t need to use the seven principles as a crutch. In your words, from your heart, why is your ministry important? Three sentences (at most) ought to do it. This criterion can be a wonderful adventure in intentional faith development. Learning to articulate your beliefs and learning how to transform your beliefs into justice is a blessed journey. Ask your minister to sit down and help you express how service is your prayer.
  5. Your Congregation’s Mission and Vision. How does your ministry fit into your congregation’s mission and vision? Your ministry needs to fit into the intentions and core values of your congregation.
  6. Timeline and Goals.* What is your ministry team’s timeline? Is your goal a onetime event, or an ongoing ministry? If your goal is an ongoing ministry, what are the specific goals for this year? How often will you hold meetings? Will you hold events? Will you achieve certain goals by a certain dates? How will you know you have succeeded in achieving your goals? Do you need a budget? If so, then how much and why? What other resources do you need?
  7. Engaging the Congregation.* How will your ministry team engage your whole congregation in its ministry? A team of five people doing good work together does not a congregational ministry make.However, a team of five people bringing more congregational members into active participation in saving the world—now that’s ministry!

Review your ministry team’sfoundational document annually.

  • Make new timelines with new goals.
  • Discover new ways to engage the congregation.
  • Are all five of the team members still active? Do you need to recruit? Have new members joined?
  • Has your team’s theological motivation changed?
  • Has the congregation’s mission and vision statements changed?
  • Is there another ministry team you can partner with in your congregation or in a neighboring congregation?
  • Celebrate your victories! Have fun!!