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  • Tip: Recruiting Volunteers

    One of the most frequent requests we hear from congregational leaders is: "How do we recruit fresh volunteers?" Our religious educators have a lot of experience since they need to recruit a multitude of teachers each year. The religious educator from my home congregation is a...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/25/2012
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  • Shadows and Light

    One of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs (YouTube) begins: Every picture has its shadows And it has some source of light Blindness, blindness and sight… When I talk about leadership qualities, I find that many of the qualities can be either strengths or weaknesses—or somewhere on...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/21/2012
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  • How would you tweet your mission?

    Having a clearly articulated mission statement helps to guide a congregation’s leaders in deciding where to put their energy and resources. But often such statements are put together by a committee and can be a bit….(I hate to say it)…wordy. Last year I visited Western Michigan...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/18/2012
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  • Walking Away from "No Energy" Programs

    How many of our congregations offer programming that isn't working, or has only a very small group of the "usual suspects" participating? In a recent article in The Christian Century, LeeAnne Watkins. Titled This Just Isn't Working: When People Don't Show Up, the article...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/5/2012
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  • Hacking into Congregational Leadership

    I've seen a disconnect between generations in our congregations when it comes to leadership. Baby Boomers, who populate the majority of our leadership positions, ask me how they can recruit more younger people for their volunteer positions. Younger Generation Xers and...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/1/2012
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  • Mental Models in a Changing World

    The world around us is changing at an exponential rate, so it is often difficult to respond to the new reality. What is true for individuals is even more true for institutions, including our “living tradition” Unitarian Universalist congregations. I’m not saying this to scold or...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/31/2012
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  • Changing Mental Models for Growth

    Responding to a changing context in order to keep your congregation vital is hard....really hard. Brain science helps us to understand that we create and use mental models of our reality that help us to filter and make sense of our experiences. But our mental models aren't...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/28/2012
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  • For Nominating Committees: Leadership Development 2.0

    What is the future of Unitarian Universalist congregations? Are we slowly declining, as hinted at in the article UUA membership and attendance declined in 2011 in the UU World? Or are we at the cusp of societal changes where we can be A Religion for Our Time ? I believe that...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/21/2012
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  • Vital Leaders for Vibrant Congregations

    Vibrant congregations in today's world live out of a sense of core mission or purpose. Twenty-first leaders need to find ways to embed that mission into all parts of congregational life. This workshop will provide strategies to help your congregation focus its development of...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/28/2012
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  • Robert Latham's Committee on Ministry Model

    A brief outline of the Committee On Ministry (COM) model that was invented in the early nineteen eighties and was honed as a working model over an almost ten year period in a mid-sized congregation.
    By Robert T. Latham | 2/7/2012
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  • Drawing the Line - Disruptive Behavior Policies and Procedures

    This webinar helps leaders discern how to separate disruptive behaviors from persons to create a peaceful community.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 8/17/2011
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  • Archiving Church Records: What Items to Keep and How to Catalogue Them

    Church members generally agree that saving church records is a good thing – but the reality of doing that raises a number of questions. Which items should be saved, and by extension, is it okay to throw some items out?
    By Kathleen Parker, Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society, Inc. | 3/27/2011
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  • Ten Good Ideas About Effective Governance

    Many of our most committed leaders have sat in congregational board meetings and said to themselves “there must be a better way to do this work”! Many new people have volunteered to do simple task and found themselves frustrated amidst lack of clarity. In this workshop we will...
    By Ian Evison, Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/14/2010
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  • Listening to Experience: UU Ministers Discuss Growth

    12 Ministers from Growing and Diverse UU Congregations Talk About Growth
    By Alice Mann, Ken Beldon, Thom Belote, John Crestwell, Kendra Ford, Robert Hardies, Peter Morales, Christine C. Robinson, Victoria E Safford, Michael A Schuler, Marilyn Sewell, Elizabeth Lerner Maclay | 3/19/2010
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  • Sustainable Action: Planting the Seeds of Relational Organizing

    The ideas below come from the Rev. Louise Green's IAF experience and training, particularly through Michael Gecan, National Staff for the Metro IAF in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. For an in-depth look at this method of community organizing, read Gecan’s Going Public,...
    By Louise Green | 2/6/2010
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  • Before and After: What Board Meetings Look Like with Carver style Policy-Based Governance

    Sample Scripts from the 2009 UU University Governance Track.
    By Robert L. Eller-Isaacs, Laura Park | 6/20/2009
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  • Lighting the Leadership Chalice: Carver-Style Policy-Based Governance

    UU University 2009: Lighting the Leadership Chalice: Governance. An introduction to the fundamentals of Carver-style policy-based governance
    By Robert L. Eller-Isaacs, Laura Park | 6/20/2009
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  • Mission Statement Tips

    Mission speaks to the congregation’s calling, the source of its integrity and it’s central reason for being. What are we called to be and do?
    By Douglas Zelinski | 3/16/2009
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  • Untangling Conversations: A Drive Time Essay

    Too often our leaders lead from unexamined fear and frustration. We need to lead from our hopes as embodied in the vision of the Beloved Community.
    By Paula Cole Jones | 2/23/2009
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  • Return to Covenant: A Drive Time Essay

    No person is perfect. How do we ask each other to return to covenant when someone makes a mistake?
    By Karen Brammer | 2/15/2009
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  • Supportive Relationships Are Not Enough: A Drive Time Essay

    Supporting one another is important, but if that is primarily what you do, then your congregation will decline. For a congregation to be alive, vital, and growing, it must have a sense that it exists to serve as well.
    2/15/2009
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  • Making the Leap with Fear and Trepidation: A Drive Time Essay on Emotional Systems

    Emotions play a major role in the leadership of congregations, and if we do not take that into consideration as leaders, we will walk into situations that tear at the fabric of communal life and possibly thwart any growth that had been planned.
    By Richard Speck | 2/15/2009
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  • Small Power: A Drive Time Essay on Worship with Children

    Small congregations are trying to do too much. They are struggling to put together a quality meaningful worship service and a Children’s Faith Development Program every Sunday. Let’s try something different.
    By Connie Goodbread | 2/15/2009
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  • Never Say It Can’t Be Done!: A Drive Time Essay on Doing More of What You Do Well

    Don’t try to do everything! Instead, figure out what your congregation does well, and do it, and do more of it!
    By Karen Lewis Foley | 2/15/2009
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  • Hospitality is Basic—and Specific!: A Drive Time Essay

    In its 7th year and with about 40 adult members, a small congregation in the South realized it was stuck—its membership hadn’t increased in 3 years. True, a few new folks joined each year, but the new folks only replaced those who had moved or left for other reasons. ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/15/2009
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  • The Sizes of the Small Congregation: Group-Centered and Leader-Centered: A Drive Time Essay

    If you’re listening to this CD, chances are you think your congregation is small. But not all small congregations are alike. These differences are not just about numbers. They’re about attitude, and group behaviors, and organizational structure. It helps to know how your...
    2/15/2009
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  • Change in Small Congregations: A Drive Time Essay

    Change is always difficult, yet it happens every day in our lives in small and big ways. It is also is a regular component of congregational life. When a visitor shows up on a Sunday, the dynamics in a congregation have changed, particularly if the newcomer stays. We all need to...
    By Kenneth Brown | 2/15/2009
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  • Can a Family Become an Institution?: A Drive Time Essay

    Before we decide whether we want to be an institution, it might be helpful if we thought about what an institution is, and what it is not. ...
    By Gordon B McKeeman | 2/15/2009
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  • Creating a Multigenerational Culture: A Drive Time Essay

    Families with children no longer feel a sense of obligation to attend church. Participation in a religious community is often considered one option among many competing interests. How do you go about creating a multigenerational culture in your congregation?
    By Michelle Richards | 2/15/2009
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  • Practicing an Outward Orientation: A Drive Time Essay

    We need to think beyond increasing the membership rolls and focus more on developing what the workshop leaders called an “outward orientation.”
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/15/2009
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  • Leadership Sometimes Means Taking a Stand

    Great leaders continually examine their motives. They ask themselves, “On what principle am I taking this stand? Am I acting for the common good? Am I trying to push a personal agenda? Do I just want my way or is there a principle at stake here?” Great leaders will admit to...
    By Connie Goodbread | 1/22/2009
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  • Founding and Sustaining a UU Military Support Group

    Practical advice about successfully founding and sustaining a group to provide fellowship and support for our active duty service folx, reservists, veterans and their families.
    By David Pyle, Seanan R. Holland, Cynthia Kane | 6/19/2008
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  • Ministry in the Borderlands

    2008 UU University Nick Carter, President of Andover Newton Theological Seminary.
    By UU University | 6/16/2008
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  • Congregational Polity for the Over-Extended Lay Leader

    Even without a clear shared theology, Unitarian Universalists have a clear shared polity, or governance structure, that helps to inform our theology. This overview summarizes why our polity is essential to who we are.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/15/2008
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  • Some Basic Advice on Triangulation

    In the 1950s the family therapist Murray Bowen introduced many ideas about systems. The concept of triangulation is one of the most applicable to congregational leadership. It is, in brief, when John is frustrated with or concerned about Mary, John looks to Jane to deal with...
    By Ian Evison, Kenneth Hurto | 6/12/2007
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  • The Participation Pyramid

    Why don't we have more people getting involved? It turns out that this is typical for congregregations that have plateaued in size.
    By Stefan Jonasson | 6/17/2006
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  • Community Ministers Connect Congregations & Communities: A Drive Time Essay

    Community ministers benefit by having a place that supports them spiritually and provides social connections. The congregation gains by its connection with a minister who has insights beyond the congregation's walls.
    By Donald E. Skinner | 6/15/2006
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  • Seven Tools that Welcome New Folks: A Drive Time Essay

    membership coordinator, and she focused much of her energy on integrating new and not-so-new members.
    By Donald E. Skinner | 6/15/2006
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  • The Size and Shape of Governance

    Five key components needed in the governance system of congregations, including visioning, coordinating, planning, training and implementing.
    By Stefan Jonasson | 5/15/2006
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  • The Case against Church School Fees

    How might fees for Sunday School impact your congregation?
    By Stefan Jonasson | 3/19/2006
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  • Websites, Our New Front Door: A Drive Time Essay

    Most visitors have already visited your website! How do you make sure it gives a good first impression>
    By Donald E. Skinner | 2/15/2006
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  • Dealing with Difficult People: A Drive Time Essay

    Is your congregation being held hostage? Is there a troublesome personality who tries to get his or her own way by withholding money, by loud assertive behavior, or by misusing Joys and Concerns?
    By Donald E. Skinner | 6/23/2005
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  • Attracting Young Adults: A Drive Time Essay

    Young adults, just like older adults, want worship that speaks to their experiences in life, that challenges them to develop deeper relationships, and that connects them to things that are beyond themselves.
    By Michael Tino | 6/23/2005
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  • The Importance of Accessibility: A Drive Time Essay

    Accessibility is a process that begins in our hearts, with a recognition of and desire to eliminate existing attitudinal and physical barriers and to replace them with attitudes of welcome and acceptance.
    By Donald E. Skinner | 6/23/2005
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  • We All Come to Make a Community: A Drive Time Essay on Attracting Youth

    How all ages can come together to make a rich and vibrant spiritual community.
    By Jesse Jaeger | 6/23/2005
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  • Why Add a Worship Service?: A Drive Time Essay

    When overcrowding is driving the move to add a service, congregations need to ask another question: Is adding a service a temporary step on the path to another solution, or is it the solution?
    By Margaret L. Beard | 6/23/2005
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  • The World Needs Us: A Drive Time Essay

    At our best, Unitarian Universalism has been a beacon of freedom, justice and wholeness; at our best, we create religious communities that make a crucial difference in the lives of many people. ...
    By Rosemary Bray McNatt | 6/23/2005
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  • The Value of Covenant Groups: A Drive Time Essay

    Help your members and friends build personal connections in an atmosphere of mutual trust.
    6/23/2005
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  • Why Do We Need A Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity?: A Drive Time Essay

    Does your congregation have a vision of being more diverse racially and ethnically or of being more effective in a multicultural world? f so, members of your congregation will benefit from a deeper examination of how race has shaped their lives and the society in which they live.
    By Paula Cole Jones | 6/23/2005
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  • Repel Fewer Newcomers: A Drive Time Essay

    A couple of years ago I started wondering about how many visitors come to our churches. I found out that nobody knows. Even that, I find fascinating. Here we are, a movement that is made up of over 80 percent of people who were not born Unitarian Universalists. Converting...
    By Peter Morales | 6/23/2005
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