Archive of Breakthrough Congregations 2005-2019

Breakthrough Congregations - New Ways for a New Day

The Breakthrough Congregation program, retired in 2019, highlighted congregational stories of innovation and growth. Although these stories are not fresh, there are still insights and ideas for today's congregations.



An earlier iteration of the Breakthrough Congregations program included congregations selected by the Unitarian Universalist Association's Growth Team on an annual basis. Each congregation shared their story at General Assembly via a video.

Harlan Limpert, Vice President of Ministries and Congregational Support, introduced breakthrough congregations at the 2011 General Assembly this way:

When President Peter Morales talks about the role the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff can play in the life of congregations, he sometimes says he wishes the UUA had created the slogan that Home Depot has made so popular in recent years: “You can do it, we can help.” This cute and catchy slogan conveys a belief that congregations already have the capacity to do all those things that enable it to live out its mission in the world. They sometimes just want help, and sometimes we can provide it.

At other times the role of UUA staff becomes that of lifting up the good work of congregations and encouraging other congregations to learn directly from them.

That is the idea behind the Breakthrough Congregation initiative. It was an effort to identify those congregations that had achieved significant and sustained numerical growth and give them an opportunity to share at General Assembly what they’ve done, and how they’ve done it. Why not look to the experts—those lay and professional leaders who have already "cracked the nut" around growth—and give them the opportunity at general assembly to share their wisdom?

View a chart of congregations by size.







All 2011 videos are 8 minutes long.


2010 Videos are 12 minutes long except Mankato (14:30).


2009 Videos are 12 minutes long.