Focusing on Member Talents and Gifts
The vital church knows that a solid focus on people's gifts and talents, sometimes described as their personal ministry, is the approach to take to create a healthy church community. This suggests:
- Implementing a year-round strategy (PDF) of exploring and defining personal gifts;
- Encouraging the application of talents and gifts exactly where and when needed, rather than simply filling slots as they open up.
Vital churches use the opposite strategy as well:
- They identify the gifts and talents of their members, and
- Find the ministries that the congregation might successfully undertake.
To support this approach, a strong infrastructure of healthy systems, processes, and relationships is needed. Below are some resources that can help with this infrastructure:
- Churchworks: A Well-Body Book for Congregations by Anne Heller
- Created and Called: Discovering Our Gifts for Abundant Living by Jean Trumbauer
- Letting Go: Transforming Congregations for Ministry by Roy Phillips
Check with inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop for copies of the above books.
Lay leader education is also important. Leading differs from managing, and leading at church differs from leading in other settings. See Harvest the Power: Developing Lay Leadership, a Unitarian Universalist Association curriculum for church leaders.