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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Anxiety and the Brain

    Learn how the human brain is impacted by anxiety in organizations like congregations.
    3/16/2018
  • Executive Sessions

    pen process and transparent communication are essential to self-governing institutions like congregations. Board meetings are usually open to any of the members. If this happens, good hospitality and boundaries can make it a positive experience for all. But there are also times...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/16/2018
  • Executive Committee Policy

    Congregations often have unexpected issues that arise between board meetings that need immediate attention. An Executive Committee typically conducts the current and ordinary business of the congregation between meetings of the Board of Trustees.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/16/2018
  • CAR Care: Building Trust Among Leaders

    By Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 3/15/2018
  • Goals and Assessment

    Questions for Discussion How might having specific goals change the experience of serving on the board? What three goals would help you feel like your congregation has accomplished something significant this year?
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 3/15/2018
  • Guests at Board Meetings

    Congregational boards do not do their work alone. They usually have several committees that do deeper dives into finance, personnel and other areas for which the board had fiduciary responsibility. The chairs of these committees often make reports at board meetings so that the...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/8/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. ...
    By Jan Gartner, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 2/23/2018
  • 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
  • The Ministry of Leading Staff: Team Ministry and Supervision

    These 2 videos (about 20 minutes each) were created especially for those who are new to staff team leadership and supervision.
    By Jan Gartner | 2/21/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, Barry Finklestein, Central East Region of the UUA | 1/16/2018
  • 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, Barry Finklestein, Central East Region of the UUA | 1/16/2018

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