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  • A Theology for Leaders

    What do we need as a core theology to take down today's giants of racism, patriarchy, environmental destruction, and other ills of the 21st century?
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/1/2019
  • Triangulation and other Systems Thinking Concepts

    S-H-I-F-T is a way to remember the basics of emotional systems (Self-Differientation, Homeostasis, Identified patient, emotional Familiy field, and Triagulation) and how they operatin in congregations.
    By Connie Goodbread | 11/19/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Anxiety and the Brain

    Learn how the human brain is impacted by anxiety in organizations like congregations.
    3/16/2018
  • CAR Care: Building Trust Among Leaders

    By Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 3/15/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tips for Holding a Meeting

    Learn how to better prepare for a meeting with tips on setting up space and meeting flow.
    11/3/2017
  • Maximizing Participation in Meetings

    If meetings are to be truly meaningful and transformational, it is crucial to involve participants fully. Read eleven ways to maximize participation.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • Untangling Triangles

    Learn how triangulated communication increases unhealthy conflict in congregations, and how to avoid and untangle triangulated conversations. Pacific Western Region (2016).
    By James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 6/2/2017
  • 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
  • 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.
    By Sue Phillips, New England Region of the UUA | 6/27/2015
  • Committee, Team or Task Force?

    As we re-imagine how to do the work of a congregation, we need to take into account that younger folks (and by "younger" I mean people under 50) are wary of making commitments without fully understanding the implications. These people want to feel like they are making a...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/6/2015
  • Want to Develop Church Leaders? Stop Training Them!

    Let me share a fable of two congregations. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/12/2015
  • Thinking About Our Thinking

    In dealing with adaptive challenges (e.g. changing demographics or attitudes toward religious institutions) congregational leaders can learn some wisdom from the old folktale about the 7 Blind Men and the Elephant . Each of the men could feel a part of the creature, and each...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/20/2015
  • Art Doesn’t Happen by Committee – Part 2

    I had just finished leading a worship service as a guest preacher. This congregation had been experiencing a gentle decline in membership over the past decade. Several congregants came up to me afterward and exclaimed, "It was wonderful how the music, the readings and the...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/7/2014
  • 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
  • Do you have "Committee Alphabet Soup?"

    I often use General Motors as an example of the top-down model of organization and leadership that is the opposite of what our congregations need to be nimble and vital (and I might add, attractive to Gen-Xers and Millennials). A story from Bloomberg "GM Recalls Stalled in 10...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/13/2014
  • 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
  • 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
  • You Talkin' to Me? Targeting Your Communications

    As leaders of a congregation, it may be tempting to assume everyone else has (or should have) the same level of commitment to the institution of the church as we have. This can have unfortunate results in everything from volunteer recruitment to stewardship conversations--even...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/19/2013
  • Could the "Nones" Become Unitarian Universalists? Part 2

    The descriptions of the values of many "spiritual but not religious" people line up pretty nicely with what our UU religious communities could be, or at least what they should at least aspire to be. We have young adult UUs living out UU values in newly-formed "beyond...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/17/2013

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For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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