Nuturing and Developing Staff

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A congregation's paid 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.

The world of professional religious leadership is complex and ever-changing: religious life is shifting in society, congregational needs are evolving, innovations are tried and shared, and new best practices emerge. To serve competently, confidently, and faithfully, staff must be intentional about their professional growth, and they should receive support and encouragement from their congregations for their ongoing formation.

In addition to strengthening the ministries of the congregation, regular professional development averts burnout, amplifies professionalism, and reinforces collegial relationships through shared learning.

Questions and concerns about staffing, staff performance, and personnel issues in your congregation should be directed to your regional staff.

Staff Teams Learn Together

Susan Frederick Gray, Shari Halliday-Quan, Bob Renjilian, Sheila Schuh and Thomas Snell

The most vital and thriving congregations practice Shared Ministry. This includes an intention to match personal gifts with opportunities to serve, in covenantal relationship, all in service to the mission and vision of the congregation. The health and vitality of the congregation depends on the health and vitality of its minister(s), religious educator(s), music professional(s), administrative professional(s), membership professional(s) and other staff.

More on Congregational Staff Team Development

Performance Evaluations: Tips, Traps and Trends

cork board with 12 small square notes attached with pushpins. Each note has a word about work performance, such as goals, growth, and competence.

Employees in meaningful roles want to do their best, and the best gift a supervisor can give is honest and helpful feedback. Provide opportunities for regular supervision that is supportive and useful to staff members, their supervisors, and your congregation’s leadership.

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Support and Resources for Ministers and Staff

Sarah Dan Jones, Rev. Marta Valentin, Kim Sweeney

The staff at the UUA, along with the affiliated professional organizations (UUMA, LREDA, AUUMM, AUUA, UUAMP), have resources for Ministers, Religious Educators, Music Professionals, Administrators and Membership Professionals. From fellowshipping and credentialling to continuing education, we have support and resources for your staff.

Support and Resources for Ministers and Staff

Support for Staff Who are People of Color or Indigenous

A group of UU religious professionals from diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds smiles together.

Staff with historically marginalized identities may need extra support when serving in congregations with a white majority and culture. The UUA offers Finding Our Way Home, an annual retreat for UU religious professionals of Color. Black UU religious professionals may also want to exploreBLUU for connection and support.

More on Supporting POCI Staff

Webinars and Workshops

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Professional Expense Allowances

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Congregations following Fair Compensation guidelines provide funds to cover a specified amount for professional expenses for staff. Typical allowable expenses include books, journals, professional dues and continuing education.

More on What Qualifies as Professional Expenses

Aid Funds for Ministers and Other Staff

UU ministers gathered together in worship at an annual meeting.

Everyone should be treated with kindness and compassion, particularly in times of need. The Office of Church Staff Finances has various endowed and restricted funds that provide financial assistance to eligible individuals including:

  • Ministers and their surviving spouses/partners;
  • other religious professionals and congregational staff;
  • the surviving spouses/partners of deceased ministers; and
  • children of UU ministers and credentialed/certified religious professionals attending college.

More About Available Aid Funds

About the Author

Jan Gartner

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

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