Staff Development and Support

human hands pointing at a puzzle on a table

A congregation's staff are leaders, modelers, and tone-setters. Well-equipped, spirit-filled staff provide consistent, skilled, accountable leadership, which in turn builds capacity and ownership among the laity and enables congregations to thrive.

Religious life is shifting in society, congregational needs are evolving, innovations are tried and shared, and new best practices emerge. Staff must be intentional about their professional growth and receive congregational support for it. In addition to strengthening the ministries of the congregation, regular professional development averts burnout, amplifies professionalism, and reinforces collegial relationships.

If you have questions or concerns about a staff member, contact your regional staff for support.

Key Resources

Staff Teams

Staff Team Development fosters overall congregational health and vitality.

Professional Organizations

UU Professional Organizations provide resources, continuing education, collegiality and professional standards for professional staff. Encourage your staff to join their respective organizations.

Professional Expense Allowances

Professional Expense Allowances make resources available for continuing education, professional organization dues, books and more, to help your staff learn, grow, and thrive.

Performance Evaluations: Tips, Traps, and Trends

Performance Evaluations complement regular, supportive supervisory conversations.

Support for Staff with Marginalized Identities

  • Finding Our Way Home, an annual retreat for UU religious professionals of Color
  • BLUU, Black Lives UU, provides connection and support for Black UUs
  • DRUUMM, Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries, a BIPOC collective
  • TRUUsT, Transgender Religious professional UUs Together
  • EqUUal Access, for UUs living with disabilities
  • Widening the Circle of Concern, the report from the UUA Commission on Institutional Change

Additional Guidance and Special Topics

Compassionate Terminations

Compassionate Staff Terminations ensure the best possible outcomes for the congregation while treating the departing staff member with respect.

Transitions Support

Transitions Support for Congregational Staff contains information for staff serving in a transitional capacity as well as for those working with an interim or transitional minister.

Mandatory Reporters

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect, from the Child Welfare Information Gateway, discusses mandatory reporting laws and contains a link to state statutes.

From Starting to Parting

From Starting to Parting (PDF) helps congregations hire, support, and transition staff. Written with religious education and music staff in mind, most information is more broadly applicable.

Aid Funds

Aid Funds administered by the Office of Church Staff Finances provide assistance to congregational employees in times of financial hardship.

Webinars and Workshops

About the Author

Jan Gartner

Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls!...

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