A congregational board isn't accountable just to the members of your congregation. Instead, you are accountable to something greater. You are leading the congregation toward its purpose or mission of sharing the Love and Grace of Unitarian Universalism in your location and context and its vision of how it can become closer to embodying the Beloved Community.
The words, theology and details of each congregation's mission and vision will vary, but the role of the board remains the same: Leading in alignment with that mission and vision.
Download the Syllabus (PDF) to keep track of your progress!
Understanding Mission and Vision
To the left you will find a mental model that describes the scope and purpose of mission and vision. The heart in the center is the core purpose of your congregation. Who are you called to be in the world, and in your context? What is it about your community that resonates in the hearts of its members and is invitational to those who enter through your doors?
Leading from Mission to Action
Mission and Vision statements are only useful when they are living documents, used by congregational leaders to make decisions and to communicate to the congregation. Your members should feel sense of connection and ownership. Make sure you find inspirational words, using active rather than passive verbs. Read the mission, vision and covenant liturgically (as part of your worship service) regularly and post them on your website.
Seeking Alignment with the Mission
It's important for every board member, every committee chair and every ministry team leader to feel a sense of ownership and connection to the mission. To do this, integrate the mission and vision into your congregational systems. Encourage committees and teams to use the mission and vision to set their annual goals and to report on how they served the mission and vision in their annual reports. Create a mission-based budget and base your stewardship campaign on how you spend your resources on mission. Look to see where your congregational systems might have "accidental values" imbedded in them an are working at cross-purposes to your mission and vision.
Finding Your Prophetic Voice
Sometimes, as leaders, you may need to lead during a time of anxiety beyond the comfort zone of members of the congregation. You may even need to lead beyond your own comfort zone. It's at times like these that connecting to your mission and vision become especially important. Take time as a board to pause, to revisit your mission, vision and covenant in depth and discernment to help you find your prophetic voice and perhaps make a courageous rather than a comfortable choice.