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Important Note: As we deepen our commitment to dismantling white supremacy, we must reckon with bias in all areas of congregational life, including leadership development resources. This summer, LeaderLab will undergo a content review with the goal of lowering bias and broadening perspectives on healthy, vital leadership. Ongoing revisions will be an essential part of this work, and we invite your feedback: conglife [at] uua [dot] org

 

  • 3 Parts of Effective Governance

    When you understand the purpose of governance and what it needs to be effective, your work as a board becomes much clearer. 
    By Dan Hotchkiss, UU Leadership Institute | 3/16/2017
  • Crowdfunding UU Dreams Through Chalice Lighters and Faithify

    Presented during General Assembly 2018 as one of the poster sessions. Crowdfunding Programs available in Unitarian Universalism. Faithify (International) Central East Region Mid-America Region Southern Region New England Region Ballou Channing District...
    By Andrea Lerner | 6/4/2018
  • Talking About Money as Pastoral Care

    This was a call-in conversation on May 14, 2018 with Kay Crider, Stewardship Consultant with Stewardship for Us, and Rev. Jan Christian, PWR Congregational Life Staff. Powerpoint Notes (below) Conversation Overview Our wounds are often deep when it comes to money...
    By Jan Christian, Kay Crider | 5/30/2018
    Filed in: Leader Lab
  • Engaging Emerging Adult Leaders in Congregations

    Imagine if you will… in your home congregation...that emerging adults (age 18 - 24) are fully integrated into the life of the church, and have strong connections with each other. They are involved in both intergenerational and age-cohort activities that satisfy spiritual and...
    By Eric Bliss, Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Annie Gonzalez Milliken | 5/16/2018
  • GA Presentation on Skills to Grow other Leaders

    Workshops and presentations at General Assembly (GA), the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), have been provided by a variety of Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations and UUA staff groups over the course of several decades. Not all presentations...
    5/2/2018
  • Congregational Governance

    Leaders in all sizes of congregation struggle with how to best govern their congregation’s affairs in ways that are effective, efficient, and faithful to our liberal religious tradition. We have spent a lot of time studying congregational governance and working with...
    4/25/2018
  • Assessment Tools for Lay Ministry

    Congregations become "smarter" as systems as they develop feedback loops that enable the system to learn from its past successes and challenges. Here is a tool that you can use to improve your ministry as well as the experience of your volunteers.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/20/2018
  • Inform and Equip Your Leaders

    Our living tradition calls us to be lifelong learners, and this is especially true for our leaders. There are many skills and sensibilities that today's leaders need to help our congregations be ready for the 21st century, which your UUA Congregational Life Staff uses to...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
  • Inviting Potential Leaders to Discern Their Gifts

    Anxiety about lack of volunteers and leaders can often lead to treating them as human capital, objects to be managed. Ironically, this anxiety-fueled approach tend to produce disappointing results. Instead, creating a program based on an I-Thou relationship of mutuality,...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
  • Identifying Potential Leaders for Your Congregation

    Your Leadership Development Team should have several practices and strategies that enable them to identify potential leaders, especially from groups that may be at the margins (young adults, people of color). Places to Look For Potential Leaders Attend newcomer classes...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
  • Top Ten People Who Should NOT Be On Your Board

    1. Joe Blow-Hard. He’s the loudmouth who always has an opinion about everything. Rationale: Let him see that running a church is not as easy as he thinks. Reality: He is all talk and no action. Give the nominating committee his name only if you want the Board meetings to go...
    By Suzanne Meyer, Chip Roush | 4/20/2018
  • Train Your Leadership Development Team

    Learn the kinds of leadership best practices that you want to instill in the rest of the congregation. Learn about the difference between Leadership and Management (we need both), how Leadership Development is an important part of Faith Formation, and how thinking in terms of...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
  • Introduction to Leadership Development Teams

    Healthy, wise leadership is essential to the growth and vitality of our congregations, yet leadership development can easily become an afterthought. Here is a brief overview of where we come from and where we are going. Nominating Committees After being elected...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
  • Flexible/Agile Leadership

    How can leaders of the 21st Century cultivate ways to be flexible and agile? If this were a TED talk, there would be an amazing three minute video of a montage of leaders throughout the world demonstrating ways to be flexible and agile. So, with the use of our imagination,...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Generous Leadership

    Before the economy tanked in 2009, we often heard in stewardship workshops that focusing on abundance instead of scarcity was the thing to do. Now, many people are not feeling that sense of abundance. In some of our congregations as many as half of their members lost well-paying...
    By Dori Davenport Thexton, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Leadership by Learning (Not Expertise)

    Over the years what works in assisting—and in leading—our congregations has shifted. Since the 1970s we have seen a marked decline in how well positional authority works in our congregations. Using positional authority, saying “I am the minister and…” or, even worse, “I am from...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Leadership as Companioning

    One of the most fun things I have done since coming to work for the UUA was the series of conversations Dori Thexton and I hosted on the future of leadership shortly after I began working for Central MidWest District. We used as a discussion starter an article by Brian...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Collaborating Leadership

    Leaders in the future are going to be collaborators. They will understand that working with others builds a sense of ownership in problem-solving and future direction, and they will actively seek out others for conversation and discernment about issues that matter. Congregations...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Connecting Leadership

    Have you ever had a friend suggest you meet someone because they thought the two of you would benefit from getting to know each other, maybe because of a shared interest? If so, then you know what a connector is. And if you’ve ever made a similar suggestion to a friend, then you...
    By Phillip Lund, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Networked Leadership

    How can we be 21st century leaders without taking part in the social network revolution? When congregations endeavor to explore their vision and mission, they often hold workshops to explore the bigger, deeper questions of “why” they exist and “what” is the difference they...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Radically Welcoming Leadership

    What does it mean to be radically welcoming? When folks who have never heard about UUism find their way into our congregations, for many it’s a sudden “I’m home!” feeling. And that’s often accompanied by the question “Why didn’t anyone tell me about UUism before?” Being...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Self-Differientiated Leadership

    Self-differentiation is a term crafted by family systems thinker Murray Bowen in the early 1960s. In his studies of how families interacted with one another, Bowen noticed that some people were more able to distinguish themselves from their own families, and some less able to do...
    By Nancy Heege, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Self-Knowing Leadership

    Anxiety kills. We know that — the stress that is a byproduct of anxiety has caused bodies to wear out early, increase incidents of heart attacks, and other medical issues. It makes it harder for us to fight off illness and injury, and makes us more prone to being worn down and...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

    During much of the last century, leadership was focused on intellect, reason, analysis, persuasion and the concept of experts. There were lots of books describing to aspiring leaders how to emphasize these qualities. Leaders were admired and considered successful based on how...
    By Dori Davenport Thexton, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Culturally Competent Leadership

    Here in the United States, we have unfettered access to other people, cultures, thoughts, ideas. Even if we live in isolated communities, through the value of Internet and libraries and movies and television and radio, we “visit” with other people and get glimpses into the way...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Spiritually Grounded Leadership

    Spiritually grounded. As a leadership trait, it may sound a little vague. After all, Unitarian Universalist leaders are generally involved in a Unitarian Universalist religious community. That in itself can be seen as a spiritual practice, a practice which, ideally, grounds...
    By Phillip Lund, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Mission-Driven Leadership

    The leadership of the future needs to be focused on mission and vision. Of course. The simple, obvious argument for this is that, to the extent that churches will need to be going basically new places, then the ability of leadership to deal with the large questions of “where are...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Leadership for the Future: A New Leadership Development Paradigm

    The MidAmerica program staff have been discussing the changing state of leadership, congregational life, and our world. We’ve realized that as we move further into the 21st century, our work has to shift. No longer can we simply teach particular skills based on the tools we...
    By MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Governance in Small Congregations

    Small congregations need a governance system that is "right sized" for the unique needs and challenges generated by their size. Boards Much of the decision-making in small congregations happens at the board level. Best Practices Create and live by a board covenant...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/19/2018
  • Embodying UU DNA for Leadership Development

    Embodying Unitarian Universalist (UU) "DNA"—one of the recommended leadership development competencies— includes: Developing and embodying faithfulness to core UU values and theology. Knowing UU history and traditions. Core Values Integrity in our faith....
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Spiritual Grounding for Leadership Developement

    Being Spiritually Grounded—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—includes: A clear, positive understanding and personal practice of one’s own faith in our liberal religious tradition. Being able to “translate” and not be reactive to the language...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Emotional Intelligence for Leadership Development

    Emotional Intelligence—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—includes: Forbearance, e.g. having self-control, especially when provoked. Presence and functioning, i.e. a high level of self-awareness with an alignment between the body and the mind...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Change Skills for Leadership Development

     Change Skills—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: Understanding the difference between unhealthy and creative conflict. Being knowledgeable about change theories and strategies. Understanding the difference between technical...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
  • Communication Skills for Leadership Development

    Communication Skills—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: Understanding different styles of giving and receiving information. Being able to communicate across different communication styles. Understanding differences in communication...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
  • Conflict Transformation Skills for Leadership Development

    Conflict Skills are part of the recommended leadership development competencies. Conflict Skills include: Understanding the difference between unhealthy and creative conflict. Being able to diffuse unhealthy conflict. Being able to be present to and engage...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
  • Management Skills for Leadership Development

    Management Skills—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: Basic skills to keep the congregation running smoothly and effectively. Understanding the fiscal responsibilities of leadership. Strong understanding of governance....
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
  • Skills to Grow Other Leaders

    Skills to Grow Other Leaders—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: A generosity of spirit and collegiality in identifying and mentoring potential leaders. A commitment to shared ministry. Identifying and developing training...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
  • Generational Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Generational Sensibility—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—includes: Understanding that along with life-stage differences, there may be differences in generations based on the societal shifts they experience during their different life stages...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
  • Multicultural Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Multicultural Sensibility—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—includes: Understanding how race and privilege operate in our lives and institutions.  Actively working to dismantle racism, especially in our institutions and systems....
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/10/2018
  • Recruiting Volunteers - 4 Point Message

    Every one-to-one recruitment invitation should include these four major  components. You are bound to succeed! Connect the Volunteer Role to the Ministry Goals or Vision Explain how the particular position relates to the MISSION or purpose of the congregation....
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/6/2018
  • The 5 "I's" of Leadership Development

    Leadership Development should be an ongoing process in your congregation that includes the following practices: Identify: Who is Called to be a Leader? Your Leadership Development Team should have several practices and strategies that enable them to identify potential...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/6/2018
  • Contextual Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Contextual Sensibility—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: Understanding what is happening in the world around us. Understanding how changes in society and demographics impacting our congregations, e.g. in today’s world each...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
  • Mission-Focused Leadership Development

    Being Mission-Focused—one of the recommended leadership development competencies—include: Purpose-driven leadership. Having a clear sense of the mission of the congregation and keeping the congregation focused on that mission. Having a clear sense of one’s own...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
  • Systems Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Systems Sensibility may be the most important of the recommended leadership development competencies—it includes: The ability to understand that we are all interconnected and interrelated. Understanding that a change in one part can have an effect on the other...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
  • Designing Faithful Leadership Formation

    Leadership development in our congregations should be an extension of faith development. But our congregational leaders need more than technical training, they need a combination of skills, sensibilities and internal qualities to enable them to be both effective and...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
  • Congregational Management: A Holy Calling

    Adapted from The Business of the Church: The Uncomfortable Truth that Faithful Ministry Requires Effective Management by John W. Wimberly, Jr., copyright © 2010 by the Alban Institute.    Congregations are among the most fascinating systems...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/5/2018
  • Leadership Development Example: Growth Through Service

    The UU Congregation of Delaware County (UUCDC) in Media, PA has a wonderful model of inviting people into service and leadership through their Growth Through Service program. They began with a Statement of Theological Grounding: As Unitarian Universalists, we live...
    By UU Church of Delaware County, Media, PA, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
  • Ordination and Community Ministers

    A local seminary student has just been granted Preliminary Fellowship and has asked your congregation if you would ordain them into the UU ministry as a community minister. What is being asked of you? Ordination into the UU ministry, in our UU polity, is solely at the...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group, The UU Society for Community Ministries, Inc. (UUSCM), UUA Commission on Appraisal (COA) | 4/5/2018
  • Whole Congregation Decisions

    Congregational boards are entrusted with many of the operational and sometimes programmatic decisions. But in our congregational polity, certain decisions should be made by the "congregation in meeting" as a "committee of the whole" via a congregational vote:...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/4/2018
  • This Is Our Church — Being/Becoming a Lay Led Congregation (Webinar)

    A webinar for lay leaders in congregations with no minister or with a minister that has gone from full-time to part-time. Ideally, three or more lay and professional leaders will watch and discuss together as a team.  PRESENTER: Karen Bellavance-Grace, New...
    By Karen Bellavance-Grace, New England Region of the UUA | 4/3/2018

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