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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

 

  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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. The UUA has many training resources to assist you!
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
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  • 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
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  • 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 Talk to...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
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  • Top Ten People Who Should NOT Be On Your Board

    A humorous take on what qualities make a good leader by showing their polar opposites.
    By Suzanne Meyer, Chip Roush | 4/20/2018
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  • 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
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  • 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 at an annual...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/20/2018
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  • Flexible/Agile Leadership

    Leaders understand that processes, tasks and outcomes will not necessarily be the same next week as they were, and they remain agile in approaching situations and answers to questions and issues that arise in their work with congregations; they know that they have to be...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Generous Leadership

    Leaders are not only financially generous (although they are that indeed!) but they have and encourage a generous spirit and appreciation of the world; they are quick to inspire others, to give of themselves as well as their time, talent and treasure, and are working to find...
    By Dori Davenport Thexton, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Leadership by Learning (Not Expertise)

    Leaders understand that it’s not just about skills, but it’s about being able to learn (often together) what’s necessary in congregational life; they understand the difference between technical and adaptive challenges, and find themselves at ease in the discomfort of adaptive...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Leadership as Companioning

    Leaders know that so much of congregational life is about being present to and with one another; they don’t have all the answers, but they know how to be with others through the journey of their lives, and the journey of shared congregational life.
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Collaborating Leadership

    Leaders know how to work and play well with others; they understand it’s not about who is right, but how people can work together to ensure the best possible outcome in both task completion and relationship building/sustaining.
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Connecting Leadership

    Leaders don’t need to be the hub through which everything flows, and they know how to help people come together for specific (and general) purposes; they can connect people to ideas, to each other, and to a greater whole.
    By Phillip Lund, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Networked Leadership

    Leaders are networked in a couple of ways — first, they are aware of how community can be created, sustained, and nurtured through the use of technology; they realize that today on-line connection serves to deepen what a congregation can offer; second, they are not afraid of...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Radically Welcoming Leadership

    Leaders understand that what they might want may not be what others want, and they are open to learning and understanding how the world is different for other people; they understand, too, that those who have been historically marginalized have places in our congregations, and...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Self-Differientiated Leadership

    Self-differentiated Leaders know who they are well enough that they also know where they stand, and what they will and will not do; they understand the necessity of boundaries, and work within the congregation to ensure that healthy boundaries are in place and are supported;...
    By Nancy Heege, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Self-Knowing Leadership

    Leaders know where their buttons are, and know how to manage their own anxiety; they recognize that anxiety serves little purpose in moving a congregation forward, and instead can lessen that anxiety and help the congregation focus on the issues involved, rather than the anxiety...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

    Leaders know how to read people emotionally, and how to help people feel safe enough to not be driven unconsciously by emotions. Leaders help people understand how to appropriately express emotions and to use them as forces to move the congregation forward, rather than trapping...
    By Dori Davenport Thexton, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Culturally Competent Leadership

    Leaders are aware, or becoming aware, that much in their world is based on cultural assumptions of the dominant groups, rather than simply “the way things are;” they understand that congregations must work to determine how they will be—that commonality in values is either...
    By Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Spiritually Grounded Leadership

    Leaders understand what they believe or don’t believe and are aware of their need for connection to something larger than themselves; they are aware that they need to connect with a deeper core that gives them balance, intuition, and commitment.
    By Phillip Lund, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Mission-Driven Leadership

    Leaders know why they are active, and how they are seeking to make a difference in the world; they understand that congregational life is not about making people “happy,” but by knowing how the congregation is called to serve their community, and are then faithful to that calling
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • 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 know...
    By MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Governance in Small Congregations

    Small congregations need a governance system that is "right sized" for the unique needs and challenges generated by their size.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/19/2018
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  • Embodying UU DNA for Leadership Development

    As Unitarian Universalist leaders, we need to understand the history and traditions of the movement as well as its core values and theology. The UU principles are just the tip of the iceberg of what it means to be UU.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Spiritual Grounding for Leadership Developement

    As religious leaders, it's important to have a "center" and a regular spiritual practice that helps us maintain that center. This not only avoids burnout, it also helps keep us focused on mission .
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Emotional Intelligence for Leadership Development

    Being aware of one's own emotions and how they influence judgment enables a leader to avoid being reactive when making decisions. Learning how to manage one's emotions helps a leader make decisions responsively and responsibly.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Change Skills for Leadership Development

    In order to keep up with a changing world, we know that we must continually breathe new life into our congregations. Leaders need to be savvy about congregational dynamics in order to lead any significant change initiative.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/19/2018
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  • Communication Skills for Leadership Development

    Healthy and clear communication is one of the most important skills for leaders. Healthy communication is learning to "talk to each other" rather than "about each other." Clear communication about mission and goals helps the congregation be in alignment and moving in the same...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
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  • Conflict Transformation Skills for Leadership Development

    Conflict can be normal and healthy, leading to positive change and growth. Conflict can also be dysfunctional and destructive. Learn the difference between good, bad and ugly conflict.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
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  • Management Skills for Leadership Development

    Congregational Management involves making sure that meetings are run well, good records are kept, yearly goals are set and the policies and procedures are being followed.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
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  • Skills to Grow Other Leaders

    Skills to grow other leaders include a generosity of spirit, commitment to shared ministry, identifying and developing training experiences, supporting development of new leaders.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
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  • Generational Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Along with life-stage differences, there are differences in generations' mores and values based on the societal shifts they experienced during their different life stages.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/12/2018
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  • Multicultural Sensibility for Leadership Development

    As American demographics shift toward more diversity, UU congregations need to learn to skillfully communicate across the differences that exist in our congregations as well as in our wider communities. Then we will be better equipped to understand race and privilege and help to...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/10/2018
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  • 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. Expand on why this...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/6/2018
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  • The 5 "I's" of Leadership Development

    Leadership Development should be an ongoing process in your congregation that includes the following practices: Identify, Invite, Inform, Involve and Inquire.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/6/2018
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  • Contextual Sensibility for Leadership Development

    The role of religion and faith is changing in American life. Fewer people are interested in organized religion. How can UU leaders respond?
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
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  • Mission-Focused Leadership Development

    Faith communities function best when they have a clear understanding of why they exist and where they are going next. Leaders help to articulate the mission and lead toward the vision.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
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  • Systems Sensibility for Leadership Development

    Systems Thinking is a mental model where all of the parts of an organism—and organization—are interconnected and interrelated. This is foundational to understanding conflict and how to lead change.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
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  • 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 faithful....
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
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  • 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 anyone can be called to manage. Like all...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/5/2018
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  • Leadership Development Example: Growth Through Service

    Service is a cornerstone of Unitarian Universalist identity, and of UUCDC membership. Through service, not only do we play our part in healing our broken world, but we also find the opportunity to grow our own faith and spirituality, and to enhance our relationships with others...
    By UU Church of Delaware County, Media, PA, Central East Region of the UUA | 4/5/2018
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  • Ordination and Community Ministers

    In Congregational Polity, ordination was historically bestowed only on Parish ministers. Today, many fellowshipped ministers serve beyond the Parish in the wider community as chaplains, in non-profit agencies and other entrepreneurial ministries. How might we recognize their...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group, The UU Society for Community Ministries, Inc. (UUSCM), UUA Commission on Appraisal (COA) | 4/5/2018
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  • Whole Congregation Decisions

    Which decisions should be made by the "congregation in meeting" via a congregational vote according to congregational polity, and which decisions can be made by the governing board?
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/4/2018
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  • Should We Have a Youth on Our Board?

    Here are some guiding questions and ideas about including a youth on your congregation's board.
    By Evin Carvill Ziemer | 4/3/2018
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  • This Is Our Church — Being/Becoming a Lay Led Congregation (Webinar)

    Some congregations have reduced ministerial hours in recent years, some can no longer afford even a part-time minister, while others have never had ministerial leadership. Whichever category your congregation falls into, this workshop will affirm that this is indeed your church.
    By Karen Bellavance-Grace, New England Region of the UUA | 4/3/2018
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  • Salary and Other Employee Changes Impact Benefits

    What to do when an employee's salary changes to ensure proper benefits administration
    By Jan Gartner | 4/3/2018
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  • Two Services - Considering, Doing, Thriving!

    Out of space? Good for you! Here are some things to think about and plan for. Going to two services offers advantages beyond solving space problems. It offers choices in service timing, for instance. This might seem like a small matter at this point, but congregations who shrink...
    By Christine C. Robinson, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/3/2018
    Filed in: LeaderLab
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  • Congregational Polity and the Myth of Congregational Autonomy

    Congregational polity is not fundamentally about autonomy or protecting individuals from spiritual coercion. This understanding repels healthy people, weakens connections among churches, and perpetuates widespread suspicion about leadership. This workshop lays groundwork for a...
    By Sue Phillips, New England Region of the UUA | 6/27/2015
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