Professional Training for New Congregational Staff (PLUS)

By Jan Gartner

graphic of a light bulb with a plus sign on it

The PLUS Program (or Professional Learning Units for Staff) is designed for new (and relatively new) professional staff in Unitarian Universalist congregations. The world of religious leadership is complex and ever-changing, so it’s critical to approach your work with a learning mindset, right from the start! Professional development is also a form of self-care, as new understandings and new connections keep you fresh and protect against burnout.

The PLUS Program is a great way to get yourself in the habit of regular learning. Each PLUS unit can be completed in an hour or less. Most units include some reading (generally online), a connection with a person (within or beyond the congregation), and some questions to answer.

To make the most of your PLUS experience, we recommend the following:

  • Find a sponsor in the congregation to be an “accountability buddy.” It could be your supervisor or someone else who is invested in your success as a staff member.
  • Agree on a schedule with your sponsor. For instance, you may decide that you will complete one PLUS unit each week, or one or two per month.
  • Use a notebook or journal (or a virtual equivalent) for your assignments.
  • After you complete a unit, share highlights of your learnings with your sponsor in real-time or by email.
  • Enjoy!

Plus Program Units

Please take a minute to tell us what you think of any PLUS unit or to share your general experience with the PLUS program: PLUS Program Feedback.

About the Author

Jan Gartner

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

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