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  • Whose Work Is It? Thoughts on Non-Violent Communication, Dominant Culture, and Power Dynamics

    Any tool, including NonViolent Communication, can be dangerous if it is used as a weapon, so let’s use the best tool for the job – and let’s use it in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone, including ourselves.
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper | 9/25/2019
  • Sparking Creativity: Creating Abundance

    Every congregation I go to has a list of things they have to do or want to do that they just can’t do because they don’t have the resources – money, volunteers, energy, space, whatever it is. Maybe it’s time to change your framing so that you can create abundance.
    By Megan Foley | 9/11/2019
  • Sparking Creativity: Yes We Can If...

    When thinking about needed or wanted change, congregations can sometimes feel stymied. And, let’s face it, human systems like religious communities don’t tend to like to change. In a way, we need to trick the system in order to allow in energy and creativity.
    By Megan Foley | 9/11/2019
  • Communicating Changes to Bylaws

    Bylaws changes require approval by the congregation in a meeting of the whole. Like any significant change, changes to bylaws should be communicated as clearly as possible with lots of opportunity for questions and comments.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 9/11/2019
  • Staffing and Interdependence: When a Staff Member Changes Congregations

    When a staff member changes congregations, these values and suggestions can help uphold sound processes and healthy relationships.
    By Jan Gartner, Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/4/2019
  • Levels of Conflict

    Not all conflict is alike. Different kinds of conflict require different kinds of responses. This is an overview of a model of conflict by Alban Institute consultant Speed Leas.
    By Renee Ruchotzke, UU Leadership Institute | 6/14/2019
  • Dismissal of a Minister in Bylaws

    Congregations should include bylaws provisions that enable the congregation to terminate the covenantal relationship when the trust and confidence in the minister has been compromised or eroded.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Tips for Engaging Controversial Issues

    Church leaders need to give serious consideration to whether a controversial issue should be acted on or not.
    By William E Gardner | 3/22/2019
  • Policies on Public Witness, Actions and Statements

    Some of the most volatile disagreements in the life of the congregations have to do with who speaks for the congregation on controversial issues. How does a congregation decide?
    By William E Gardner | 3/22/2019
  • Congregational Size Theory Resources for Growth

    More resources to help understand and lead congregation growth!
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/19/2019
  • 7 Tips for Creative Facilitation

    Leaders who want to engage the creativity of the congregation in a process (such as the creation of guiding documents or strategic plans) can learn to ask questions and host conversations that will facilitate group learning.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/15/2019
  • Disagreement, Dissent and Creative Conflict

    Learning how to be in community with people who have different opinions or experiences is essential in UU congregations.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/19/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Welcome to the Roller Coaster: Managing Change in the RE Program

    We’ll look at the challenges of working through change of all types in your program, from introducing new curriculum to adding a second service. The role of staff and leaders in change management will be examined and strategies for lowering anxiety will be introduced. (2015)
    By Patricia Infante | 12/10/2017
  • Handling Difficult Behavior in Meetings

    Learn about some common difficult meeting behaviors and a few strategies to cope with them.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • 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
  • The Bubble of Beloved Community

    Sometimes, living in a bubble can be a good thing. It can create a barrier between harmful things on the outside and precious things on the inside. In some ways, our congregational covenants operate in this way. They articulate that "in this community, this is how we will be...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/10/2016
  • Do You Have Zombie Programs?

    The new year offers a new opportunity to take stock of how your congregation is serving its mission. Invite your leadership team to take stock of your current program offerings. Is the program bringing in new life in the form of new participants? Is the program a brain-drain or...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/7/2014
  • Working At Cross-Purposes

    Your mission is what is hanging on the wall, Your system is what is happening down the hall. — Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries Sometimes leaders have an "aha" moment where they realize that they have been doing (or avoiding doing) something that is working at cross-purposes...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/22/2013
  • The Free *and* Responsible UU

    ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/18/2012
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dynamics of Change: Paradigm Shifts

    It isn’t only individuals that have a hard time with change; congregations have their hard times, too. Any institution develops systems and patterns of behavior that seem to endure even as the individuals within the organization change. Roles are created and filled, and both...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 6/15/2005
  • Consensus Model of Decision-Making: An Overview

    A consensus decision-making model empowers participants to cooperate with one another in order to reach an outcome that is in the best interest of the group as a whole and that furthers the group’s stated purpose.
    By First Parish in Lexington, Lexington, MA | 3/15/2005
  • Reconciliation As a Spiritual Practice

    When we engage in reconciliation--which is different than an apology or forgiveness--we invite change that will transform a relationship.
    By Paula Cole Jones | 2/15/2004

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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