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  • Congregational Membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association

    A list of the documents and procedures you need to apply to be a member congregation of the UUA.
    By Heather Bond | 10/17/2019
  • 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
  • Assess Your Hospitality Using Secret Seekers

    Almost all of our visitors come hoping that they will find their spiritual home. They have not just wandered off the street and into our sanctuaries, they have done their homework: They know what Unitarian Universalism claims to be, and are now seeing if a particular...
    By Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 8/2/2019
  • Five Types of Growth

    ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 5/8/2019
  • A Comprehensive Guide for Adding a Second Worship Service

    Making the decision to add an additional worship service, or even considering such a thing, is a major undertaking in congregational life. As institutions (and even as members of institutions), we don’t always embrace even the smallest changes easily, and alterations in our...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Strategies for Adding a Service

    Adding services can provide a wonderful, invigorating climate for growth of all sorts, both individual and institutional. But large-scale change without adequate planning not only may doom the change but also may create additional problems. Therefore, ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Growing Pains When Adding a Service

    Some useful points to consider and remember as the congregation faces the addition of a service and the consequent growth.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Considering Your Staff When Adding a Service

    Adding a worship service inevitably means more work for the congregation’s staff, both professional and support.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Considering Religious Education When Adding a Service

    One of the key challenges in adding an additional service is providing religious education for children. What is needed, what will be offered, and how it will be done are large questions that need and deserve special consideration.
    3/22/2019
  • Reasons for Adding a Second Service

    A congregation might choose to add an additional worship service for many different reasons: Some are from the needs of the congregation, and and others are driven by needs of individuals not yet within the congregational walls.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Sample Surveys for Adding a Second Service

    Three sample surveys that can be modified easily for your specific situation.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Common Concerns about Adding a Second Service

    Any change is difficult for an organization, but the change in number of worship services seems to prompt some particular fears and feelings. They need to be articulated, recognized, affirmed, and responded to so the change can move forward effectively. The following are some...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Logistical Questions for Adding a Second Service

    Adding an additional service will have a real impact on congregational life. Once the decision to add a service is made, the designing and implementation stages begin. Here are a list of questions to help guide your planning:
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Shared Wisdom on Adding a Second Service

    Some tips from congregations who have added a second service.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • We Met Online! Great Visitor Experience Start with Google

    From the first online search to an in-person visit, emotions are a key part of what makes a visitor stay or go. User Experience (UX) approaches uncover the emotions we’re evoking to create positive and integrated experiences. Learn how to apply UX to your congregation to improve...
    By Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Carey McDonald | 3/19/2019
  • Congregational Size Theory Resources for Growth

    More resources to help understand and lead congregation growth!
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/19/2019
  • Membership Resources Webinar

    Our congregations have come a long way in welcoming visitors and new members but they still struggle to engage and keep them for the long term. Learn some tools that will be helpful on how to begin to see the membership path in a new light.
    By Southern Region of the UUA | 3/13/2019
  • 20 Suggestions for a Welcoming Congregational Office

    An accessible, attractive and efficient office space makes staff, volunteers and visitors happy and productive!
    By Anne Odin Heller | 11/21/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Price of Renewal

    Why Dying and Rebirth are Essential Components of Growth Congregations that aspire to be vital, strong and growing follow a constant cycle of birth, aging, death, renewal and rebirth. This session will look at several theories around the life cycles of congregations and will...
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
  • Membership Myopia

    The most common symptom of this dreaded “disease” is focusing on only one aspect of the membership experience, i.e., visitors and newcomers. But there is a whole lifecycle of the membership experience that calls for creative and effective engagement by the membership committee....
    By William Clontz | 12/17/2017
  • How Do I Grow Thee

    Five Ways of Growing Your Congregation. Mark Bernstein discusses five ways of growing strong, vital and lasting Unitarian Universalist congregations. 2012
    By Mark Bernstein | 12/17/2017
  • Authentic Connections in a Virtual World

    Rev. Meg Riley, senior minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship From Dawning Future, November 2015
    By Meg Riley | 12/17/2017
  • The Gravity of the Situation

    What Holds UUism Down and Prevents Us From Rising? Introduction to morning presentations from Dawning Future 2015 Rev. Tom Schade of "the lively tradition"
    By Tom Schade | 12/15/2017
  • Membership in the Small Church

    Small congregations offer intimacy and inclusion, but can sometimes feel exclusive to newcomers. How might you bridge that divide?
    By Megan Foley | 10/30/2017
  • From Visitor to Engaged Member

    Faith traditions are all in a time of transition and the UU faith is no exception. As we struggle to consider what our faith will look like in the world of congregations and beyond, let us come together to consider some new perspectives on the traditional ideas of membership. In...
    By Marie Luna, Tandi Rogers | 9/1/2017
  • Welcoming in an Unwelcoming World

    Following recent political changes and the social turmoil it has precipitated, UU Churches are experiencing an influx of first-time visitors and returning old friends. On social media, people are looking for community and are being pointed to our congregations. Gone are the days...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/11/2016
  • Is Your Congregation Feeling Contractions?

    Is your congregation's attendance flat or declining? Are the results from your stewardship campaign disappointing? Are you dipping into an endowment to help cover your operating expenses? Are you thinking about cutting the budget by reducing the working hours of your program...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/2/2016
  • Sprucing Up Your Spiritual Hospitality

    I'm a "stealth greeter" in my home congregation. I go up to newcomers after a service and strike up a conversation about what brought them to church that day, and then I listen. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/12/2016
  • One Bad Apple CAN Spoil the Whole Bunch

    The 1970's heart-throb boy band The Osmonds provided a disservice with their ear-worm hit song "One Bad Apple." They sang, ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/29/2015
  • Keeping Your Laundry Out of the Living Room

    Belonging to and being a part of a community is an important aspect of congregational life. Many of our members think of their congregations as a second home and think of the other members as part of their extended family. The relationships that we create and nurture by sharing...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 9/23/2015
  • Sunrise, Sunset: Generational Trends in Stewardship

    Many of our "solid" congregations noticed a drop-off in giving that was not a result of a drop-off of membership during the past two or three years. We don't have much data (the trend is too new) but we do have some anecdotal information that seems to align with greater...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 6/12/2015
  • Want to Develop Church Leaders? Stop Training Them!

    Let me share a fable of two congregations. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 5/12/2015
  • Putting on the Membership Apron

    What does it mean to be a member in a congregation? How much can we ask of members? I believe that membership should signify a commitment to the congregation and it's mission as expressed by the Rev. Michael Piazza. ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/19/2015
  • Announcements: A Terrible Death to Die

    I remember my first church family camp, the Ohio Meadville Summer Institute . At the end of the morning worship, one of the planning committee members would go up to the podium and start singing: Announcements, Announcements, An-NOW-ounce-ments! A terrible death to die, a...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 9/5/2014
  • Rude Awakenings: Practicing Civility in Our Congregations

    Is rudeness a quality of Unitarian Universalism? How else to explain the lack of hospitality exhibited by many congregations toward unbidden guests? This workshop will explore the prevalence of rudeness in our society, how it is seeping through the walls of our congregations,...
    By Mark Bernstein | 6/26/2014
  • 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
  • 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
  • Could the "Nones" become Unitarian Universalists? Part 1

    Young Adult ministry has been a challenge for congregations of all liberal protestant denominations for decades but the game is changing in ways we couldn't have imagined back in the post WWII church building boom. There has been a lively conversation on the UU-Leaders email...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/16/2013
  • Hide it under a Bushel? No! Share Your Awesomeness

    Are all of the members and friends of your church aware of all of the outreach ministries of your church? Is the wider community aware of who you are serving and how? Churches need to tell their stories, advises a recent article in the Christian Century. Author George Mitrovich...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/9/2013
  • Vision: Make sure it "tastes good"

    Congregational leaders are often tempted to go through the motions of creating mission, vision, planning and covenant documents without taking a holistic view of the process. Do the congregations systems support the process? How do we reflect the core values and personality of...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 9/10/2013
  • GenX: The Adaptive Generation

    In my last blog post I wrote about the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. I received a few requests to write about the generational cohort labeled Gen X (rough birth years 1960-1985), sandwiched between the two and much smaller than either. Most of the ministerial settlements...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 8/16/2013
  • Let's Not Say "Show Me the Money"

    There can be a significant cultural divide between baby boomers and millennials in our congregations, which is obvious to the millennials, but often invisible to the boomers. I was reminded of this after seeing various reactions on Facebook to a recent article on...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 7/30/2013
  • 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
  • Think of Yourself as the Visitor

    Many years ago, I was working with employees of MBNA Bank at their branch headquarters in Newark, Delaware. Over every door in the building, in big block letters, were the words, THINK OF YOURSELF AS THE CUSTOMER. I was struck by that phrase and with the idea that putting...
    By Mark Bernstein | 5/24/2013
  • The Power of Symbolic Language

    Unitarian Universalists tend to use a lot of words when we attempt to explain our religious beliefs and values. We have a complicated faith that does not fit into typical questions about religion from outsiders. This makes sense at a national level. We have a big tent that makes...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 4/9/2013
  • Making Space for the Quiet Voices

    ...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/23/2012

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