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  • The Peril of Anonymous Feedback

    Healthy and transparent communication needs to be mutual, with all parties taking responsibility for their words. Leaders should have firm policies against accepting anonymous feedback. And yet, there are times when cultural differences or power differentials require a nuanced...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/28/2018
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  • When Members Become Employees

    When a congregation is in search for a new professional staff member to fill a key and important role in the congregation, whether it is that of a custodian or that of a membership director, an important consideration is how well potential applicants understand and have personal...
    By David Pyle | 2/25/2018
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  • How to Design a Congregational Staff Retreat

    One of the keys to a healthy congregational staff team is that they understand themselves as a team. Congregational staff members often relate more with lay-leaders in their particular program or operational areas more often than they do other staff members, and this can easily...
    By David Pyle | 2/25/2018
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  • Forming a Committee on Ministry

    In consulting with congregations about their “Committee on Ministry”, I have learned that a necessary first step is to ask the congregational leaders to tell me what they expect their Committee on Ministry to do. And in every congregation, the expectations of a Committee on...
    By David Pyle | 2/25/2018
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  • Five Strategic Tasks of a Governing Board

    After a congregational governing board has begun to transition the operations and management of a congregation out of the governing board and towards the congregational staff or a lay and staff leadership team, I will regularly receive the same question from congregational...
    By David Pyle | 2/25/2018
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  • The Relationship Between the Governing Board and Congregational Professional Staff

    One of the most common sources of tension in a congregation where conflict occurs that involves governing boards is the relationship between governing boards and the congregation’s professional staff, including the minister. I have found that much of this conflict arises from...
    By David Pyle | 2/25/2018
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  • The Unique Finances of Your Minister

    You’ve probably heard that there are special tax rules for ministers. Most church leaders don’t need to be experts on ministerial compensation, but it’s important to understand the basics of how payroll and taxes for the minister differ from other employees. Our Ministerial...
    By Jan Gartner, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 2/23/2018
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  • Our Values, Our Staff

    Many congregations have mission and vision statements that lift up values named in our principles, such as dignity, compassion, justice, equity, and interdependence. Congregations have the opportunity and the obligation to live their mission not only out in the world, but within...
    By Jan Gartner, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 2/23/2018
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  • Keeping Meeting Minutes

    The meeting minutes from board meetings and congregational meetings create the official, legal record of the actions of the board or congregation. For the congregation, they are important as an accurate historical record. They may also used by outside parties: ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/15/2018
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  • Great Teams Make Great Boards

    Congregational boards are intended to provide collective discernment rather than be a forum for competing interests or agendas. Faithful boards are in alignment with and accountable to the mission and vision of the congregation. Effective boards trust each other enough to listen...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/14/2018
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  • Creating Healthy Communication Channels

    The flow of information in an organization is a bit like the flow of water after a rain. Ideally, the information is shared evenly, and the members are able to absorb it like loamy soil. But information that triggers anxiety can be like a heavy rain. Without established channels...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/10/2018
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  • Confidentiality and Healthy Disclosure for Boards

    Balancing transparency and confidentiality can be challenging for congregational board members, staff, and other leaders who have access to sensitive information. Healthy, vibrant systems need as much open communication as possible. White Supremacy Culture sometimes uses "the...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/9/2018
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  • My Love-Hate Relationship with Surveys

    I have a love-hate relationship with surveys, especially surveys used as a part of congregational planning. Frankly, used in this context they can often do more harm than good. When used as one among a number of ways of collecting data, they can get great and comparatively easy...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 2/9/2018
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  • How to “Right Size” a Governing Board

    Congregational Governing Boards have different structures, cultures, assumptions, and responsibilities in different congregations. The size and structure of a governing board is dependent upon the roles and responsibilities of the board itself. Here are a series of factors that...
    By David Pyle | 2/9/2018
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  • Adaptive vs. Technical Challenges: A Case Study

    What is the difference between a technical challenge and an adaptive challenge? Rev. David Pyle gives a helpful example.
    By David Pyle | 2/9/2018
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  • Overcoming the Resistance to Change

    Organizations, like all systems, seek equilibrium. If a congregation is thrown out of balance by the prospect of change, most members will seek to restore order and sameness. This is natural and should not be a reason to judge one another. Healthy organizations have developed...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/9/2018
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  • Governance and Ministry: A Partnership

    A brief overview of how Governance and Ministry partner to serve the mission of the congregation. (Based on Dan Hotchkiss's Governance and Ministry, 2nd Edition.)
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/7/2018
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  • Good Worship in Small Congregations

    Small congregations with little or no professional ministry help can still have good worship services. This webinar gives you some tips.
    By Sarah Movius Schurr | 2/6/2018
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  • Growth Cycles of Congregations Explained

    Is you congregation growing, static or in decline? This video, based on the book Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Gary L. McIntosh
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 2/4/2018
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  • A Quick Look at Written Congregational Surveys

    Surveys that work best come out of an understanding that the job of leadership is not to “make people happy” but to help the congregation live out its mission. Surveys that are useless at best and divisive at worst typically seek to honor personal preferences about various areas...
    By Jan Christian, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 2/2/2018
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  • The Emotional Dynamics of Change

    One key insight for leaders is to understanding how responses to change are not just intellectual, but emotional. This presentation provides a mental model using a rollercoaster to help you lead through change.
    By Gilbert Rendle | 1/30/2018
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  • Planning for Building Maintenance

    "Deferred Maintenance" and "Building Reserves" are terms that are often tossed around when talking about the budget, but what do they mean?
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/29/2018
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  • What Do We Promise One Another as Unitarian Universalists?

    What are our promises to each other, to our fellow congregants, to any Unitarian Universalist in the world? How do we show up for each other? To help us understand what this might mean, the UUA shared this beautiful video, created by a Unitarian Universalist and graphic designer...
    By Terasa Cooley | 1/22/2018
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  • 6 Styles of Congregational Governing Boards

    Every Unitarian Universalist Congregation is designed differently. How each congregation functions is a blend of congregational experience, culture, and history. Congregational structures are also affected by whether and which other congregations members have attended or been a...
    By David Pyle | 1/17/2018
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  • Navigating Size Transitions in the Midsize Congregation

    ( Atlanta, GA, 2000 ) Following a morning worship service, Alban Institute consultant Alice Mann was introduced to lead the day's learning experience on "Navigating Change in the Midsize Congregation." Mann, the author of "The In-Between Church," is an Episcopal priest who has...
    By Alice Mann, Deborah Weiner | 1/17/2018
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  • Characteristics of a Mission-Based Congregation

    Creates a shared vision of the church, an effective mission statement and dynamic mission-centered goals to implement the mission. Develops and affirms a clear identity and purpose with a strong sense of mission. Mission(s) used as a compass in decision-making. Members can...
    By UUA Congregational Life: Growth Strategies For Congregations Office | 1/17/2018
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  • The Roles of Mission, Vision and Covenant in Congregations

    This image is one mental model in understanding mission in a congregation. 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...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/17/2018
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  • Develop Leadership Development Teams, Not Just "Nominating Committees"

    Sustainable leadership development cannot be reactive to these kinds of crises. Leadership Development should be an ongoing process in your congregation that includes the following practices: Identify, Invite, Inform, Involve and Inquire.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/16/2018
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  • Best Annual Budget Drive Ever: Part Three - 21st Century Stewardship and Best Practices

    What is working well today, including the tried and true, and new ideas. What is not working so well, and how can it be improved or replaced. How can we use technology and social media. How can we reach the people who are hard to reach. Can we effectively diversify our revenue...
    By Patricia Infante, Central East Region of the UUA | 1/16/2018
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  • Best Annual Budget Drive Ever: Part Two - Talking About Money

    Recognizing the baggage we bring and the anxiety many of us have about money and stewardship, how can we talk about sharing our gifts in service of the whole, that is, our beloved faith community. How can we talk to one another about our dreams and vision for our church—linked...
    By Patricia Infante, Central East Region of the UUA | 1/16/2018
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  • Best Annual Budget Drive Ever: Part One - Vision, Planning, and Organizing

    Participants will be invited to reflect on their recent campaigns and learn how to generate new ideas, new themes, and attract new people. Consider what have we not done for a while, what stewardship message does our congregation need this year, what would we do with more money...
    By Patricia Infante, Central East Region of the UUA | 1/16/2018
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  • Creating a Purpose-Based Budget

    We often claim that budgets are moral documents, and that congregational budgets should reflect our values. But line item budgets that include "office supplies, utilities, salary" and other such descriptions don't show how these line items serve the mission of the congregation....
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/5/2018
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  • Let's Talk About UUs, Money, Power and Secrecy

    What could possibly go wrong? A look at UUs and Stewardship presented by Bill Clontz of Stewardship for Us. Dawning Future, November 2015
    By William Clontz | 12/17/2017
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  • The Difficulty of Being Just: Including Those with Disabilities in Congregational Life

    Being in right relationship with people who have disabilities is more than etiquette. It requires that we treat others fairly; that we ensure that everyone has the same opportunities, resources, and rewards. This workshop will examine attitudes and practices toward people with...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Compassion First! Finding the Jackals Without and Within

    Do you find yourself discouraged by all the complaining in your congregation, including your own criticisms? Do certain individuals and issues keep howling louder and louder for attention, drowning out hope for the healthy congregations and relationships? Come join each other as...
    By LoraKim Joyner | 12/17/2017
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  • Happiness as a Spiritual Practice

    Are we having fun yet? Surprisingly, many UU congregations aren't. The stress of church work, interpersonal conflict, and lack of resources, to name a few, result in congregational members worrying more and enjoying less. Based on the Shawn Achor book, The Happiness Advantage,...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Seeing Through New Eyes: Creating an Anonymous Visitors Program

    Marcel Proust wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." In order for congregations to truly see how friendly and hospitable they are, it is helpful to learn from others. This session will provide the nuts and bolts for...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Pleased to Meet You - Training Greeters

    Greeting visitors and members at the doors of our congregations is more than saying hello and collecting information. This session will explore the art of greeting and will offer a blueprint for setting up your own greeter training program and monitoring its effectiveness. 2013
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • The Price of Renewal

    Why Dying and Rebirth are Essential Components of Growth Congregations that aspire to be vital, strong and growing follow a constant cycle of birth, aging, death, renewal and rebirth. This session will look at several theories around the life cycles of congregations and will...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • When in Doubt Retreat

    Fun and Effective Team Building Activities for Your Board, Committees, and Congregation Synergy is what happens when a group of people accomplish something that one or two or a few alone could not. Where there is teamwork, there is synergy. This session will describe several...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Money, Spirit, and Life: The Wi$dom Path

    How can our relationships with earning, spending, investing, and giving be spiritually healthy and grounded in our deepest values? How would our congregations and communities benefit from spiritually healthy money conversations? This experiential workshop introduces interactive...
    By Patricia Infante, Wayne B. Clark, David H. Messner | 12/17/2017
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  • Restoring Relationships in Congregations

    In marriage we have vows and in congregations we have behavioral covenants. Without intention and agreements on how to process disagreements and conflicts, vows and covenants can end up meaningless, or even harmful. In other words, we need to agree on how to fight, for fight we...
    By LoraKim Joyner | 12/17/2017
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  • Retirement Planning for Ministers

    Webinar presented by Rev. Richard Gilbert, president of UU Retired Ministers and Partners. 2015
    By Richard S. Gilbert | 12/17/2017
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  • On Being a Non Anxious Leader: Emotional Intelligence

    The challenges that Membership Professionals face require that one react both with their head and with their heart. Emotional Intelligence is where the head and heart intersect and is an important tool in understanding your own emotions and the emotions of others, in being...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Membership Myopia

    The most common symptom of this dreaded “disease” is focusing on only one aspect of the membership experience, i.e., visitors and newcomers. But there is a whole lifecycle of the membership experience that calls for creative and effective engagement by the membership committee....
    By William Clontz | 12/17/2017
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  • How Do I Grow Thee

    Five Ways of Growing Your Congregation. Mark Bernstein discusses five ways of growing strong, vital and lasting Unitarian Universalist congregations. 2012
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
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  • Cool Things Crowdfunding Can Teach Us About Church

    Rev. Sue Phillips Dawning Future, November 2015
    By Sue Phillips | 12/17/2017
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  • Hope, Anger and Empty Chairs: A Black Lives Matter Conversation

    Presentation by Kenny Wiley & Rev. Barbara Gadon Dawning Future, November 2015
    By Kenny Wiley, Barbara Gadon | 12/17/2017
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  • Lay Seminary in Your Pocket

    Rev. Renee Ruchotzke talks about UU Leadership Institute and where the idea for that came from. Dawning Future November 2015
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 12/17/2017
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  • Authentic Connections in a Virtual World

    Rev. Meg Riley, senior minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship From Dawning Future, November 2015
    By Meg Riley | 12/17/2017
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