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  • 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
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Sweet Spot

    Dynamic congregations rarely have a hard time dreaming new dreams, but many struggle to choose from among a parade of compelling ideas about how to use their time and energy.
    By Sue Phillips, New England Region of the UUA | 3/22/2018
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  • CAR Care: Building Trust Among Leaders

    By Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 3/15/2018
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  • Board Retreats

    Many congregations start the church year with a retreat for the Board of Trustees (including the Minister). Ideally, this retreat is held Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, at a site away from the place you usually meet. Perhaps you could go to someone's lake cabin or a...
    By MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 2/28/2018
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Shared Leadership In Religious Education

    Creating a vital religious education program is most successful when a healthy balance exists between staff and lay leaders. This video offers guidance and resources on building healthy relationships, communication, shared leadership, shared responsibility, and working in...
    By Patricia Infante | 12/14/2017
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  • Self Care for Board Members

    Serving on a congregational board can be both rewarding and stressful. Some stress is natural, but certain kinds of stress can lead to burn-out. It's important for board to develop a culture that supports board members in their work as well as in their own growth and development...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/16/2017
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  • Practicing Intercultural Agility

    In order for a congregation to reflect the global majority in its membership, its leaders must learn to model how to de-center the culture of the congregation from White identity and culture. Here are some practices to get you started.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/15/2017
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  • Lay Leadership as a Spiritual Practice

    There is virtually nothing that you can do in your congregation that is more exciting or enlivening as serving as a lay leader. Moving from receiving to giving back to your community can be a rewarding experience of growth and deepening. ...
    By Erik Walker Wikstrom, Skinner House Books | 11/15/2017
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  • Being a Learning Community

    Congregational leaders today are facing challenges that have no easy answers or quick fixes. Developing practices that enable the congregation to use its collective wisdom to experiment with different ideas and approaches. Understand Your Congregation as a System Systems theory...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group, Renee Ruchotzke | 9/13/2017
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  • From New Member to Committed Leader

    Learn how to provide paths to leadership in your congregation,to identify potential leaders and to equip them for service in your congregation. (2016).
    By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA | 9/1/2017
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  • How to Be a Great Congregational President

    An opportunity for new presidents to learn the basics, share some resources, and network with those moving into the role. Featuring Amy L. Nelson, former president of the UU Congregation of Rochester, MN. (May, 2015)
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 4/14/2017
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  • Green Eyeshades and Rose Colored Glasses

    Congregational budget-makers frequently divide into two camps that approach the task in different ways. The first camp is likely to include children of the Great Depression, experts in finance, elementary school teachers, and persons anxious about their own money situation....
    By Dan Hotchkiss, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/20/2017
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  • Serving as Leader: Effective Leadership in Small Congregations

    In this webinar, we will explore the role of leaders in a Unitarian Universalist congregation. We will offer some useful tools to help your leaders and your congregation to thrive.
    By Sarah Movius Schurr | 2/25/2017
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  • Need More Volunteers? Maybe Your Bylaws Are The Problem...

    Consider making your governance committees leaner, so that more members are available to serve the ministries of the congregation.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/16/2017
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  • Re-Invigorating Social Justice Ministries

    I've been hearing stories from different congregations where the Social Justice Ministries are re-inventing and re-invigorating themselves by finding out the potential sweet spot where the congregation's mission, capacity and will meets the needs and potential impact of the...
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper, Renee Ruchotzke | 12/6/2016
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  • We are the Infrastructure of the Revolution

    Abridged Excerpt from “The Future of Justice Ministries” by Rev. David Pyle The Keynote for the UU Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network Annual Meeting 2016 I always default to hope. It is the most constant aspect of my personality. And yet, hope has seemed more difficult...
    By David Pyle | 11/12/2016
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  • Congregational Fitness for Ministry

    Given the increasing shortage of UU ministers, congregations might wish for a simple way to evaluate their own fitness for ministry. Ministers, likewise, might find an objective scale helpful in discerning whether a congregation is ready for them. This scale is similar to the...
    By Matthew Johnson | 3/26/2016
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  • Self-Differentiated 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 | 8/1/2015
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  • Want to Develop Church Leaders? Stop Training Them!

    Let me share a fable of two congregations. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/12/2015
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  • You are not the boss of me!

    My father-in-law was a no-nonsense businessman who worked a 600 acre farm. Fiercely independent, he liked to play by his own rules. When he bought a new piece of machinery, he would remove all of the pesky shields and other safety devices that slowed him down or got in the way...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/23/2014
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  • Art Doesn't Happen by Committee - Part 1

    Once upon a time there was a congregation that wanted a mission statement. They appointed a committee that worked hard. They held cottage meetings, World Café conversations, and got a real sense of the identity of the congregation, who they were as a "whole"—or their "center."...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/7/2014
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  • Adaptive Measures

    Your congregation is committed to growth and understands that growth in numbers results from other kinds of growth. You also know it is important to set goals and measure how well you are doing. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 12/18/2013
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  • The Gift of Being Called

    It was mid-afternoon and my sixth grade classmates and I were in the middle of a lesson. Suddenly, the deep voice of the principal boomed over the loudspeaker. “Mr. Doyle, I need your help. Mrs. Jones will be out the rest of the day and I need someone to be in the office to...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 12/3/2013
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  • Assessment: "Edit"ability vs. Accountability

    Assessment of a congregation's ministry is a very important aspect of religious leadership and is one of the roles of a Commit tee on Shared Ministry . We often use the term "accountability" as in "accountability to mission" to describe the purpose of such assessments. The word...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 9/5/2013
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  • Volunteer Roles: Your Trash, Another's Treasure

    How do we find volunteers for the different jobs in our congregation? How do we fire a volunteer who doesn't perform? How do we renew a committee stuck in stale ideas and that repels any new committee members and their potential energy? Volunteer recruitment and dealing with...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/23/2013
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  • Measure in Church Time Dog Years

    Church leaders that I work with are often frustrated with the slow, almost glacial speed of change in congregational life. What might take a month or two in the workplace takes a year in the church. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/28/2013
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  • Lead other Leaders with Honey, Not Vinegar

    If I could give one piece of advice for congregational leaders who wish to grow others into leadership, I would say, "Have one-on-one, personal conversations. Ask about their passions. Ask how they are doing. Focus on the positives while encouraging them to stretch and grow." A...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/30/2013
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  • To Be "Seen" - Recruiting Leaders

    We are heading into the time of year where some nominating committees are scrambling to recruiting potential leaders for governing boards and other elected positions to be offered for election at Spring congregational meetings. Hopefully, your congregation is transitioning...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/24/2013
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  • Don't Lead from a Bubble

    As I watched the election results roll in on Tuesday night and the responses of the various commentators, it became apparent that many of the Republican leaders and spokesmen (e.g. Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and George Will) were flummoxed by the results that conflicted with their...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/8/2012
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  • Making Space for the Quiet Voices

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    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/23/2012
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  • Bored with Board Retreats?

    Are you planning a board or leadership retreat for the fall? Do you want something engaging and relevant to the challenges you are facing this upcoming year? Here are some ready-to use resources for you! ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 8/21/2012
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  • All the world's a game....

    All the world's a game....and we are just players... This paraphrase of the line from Shakespeare's As You Like It comes to mind as I am reading Jane McGonigal's book...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/23/2012
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  • Leadership "Cairns" for Next Generation

    I spent several days hiking in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia for my vacation. (It was a good opportunity to get away from the technology that is my constant companion during the rest of the year, since there are few cell phone towers in those mountains.) Many...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/6/2012
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  • Summer Reading for UU Leaders

    One habit of leaders in vibrant congregations is to choose a book that they will use as a group study resource for the church year. They read a book in common over the summer, then discuss it by chapter or by theme during the August-May months. I often get requests for suggested...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/2/2012
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  • To Be “Bona Fide” - Authenticity as a Way Toward Growth

    There has been a lot of press lately about Generation Y—often referred to as the Millennials—since they started to come of age around the year 2000. It’s a generation that doesn’t fit the old stereotype of rebellious youth that began with the Baby Boomers; articulated in the...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/28/2012
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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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