A Guide to Leadership Development in Your Congregation
A Guide to Leadership Development in Your Congregation
"To Do" list for leaders: Understand Bylaws, Dynamics of Conflict, etc.

We on your UUA Congregational Life Staff want you to spend your leadership development energy on relationship-building and connecting individuals to meaningful service (see the Leadership Development Team Training below), so we offer affordable leadership development courses that your potential and seasoned leaders can take take in parallel, then to meet and learn together:

Centered Leadership Part 1

For new leaders and those interested in possible leadership. Covers covenant, healthy communication and boundaries, shared ministry, and stewardship. Also provides and introduction to congregational polity, UU theologies, and the wider UU movement. syllabus  sample presentation 

Centered Leadership Part 2

Includes family and other systems thinking applied to congregations. (Similar to Healthy Congregations®) Learn healthy leadership practices, communication and conflict skills, the importance of being mission-focused and how to communicate across differences. syllabus  sample presentation

Strategic Leadership

Develop a deeper understanding of how to focus your congregation on mission, build trust and develop a cohesive leadership team. Learn about stewardship, strategic planning, annual goal setting and ministry assessment and the basics of congregational governance.syllabus  sample presentation

Adaptive Leadership

Develop advanced leadership skills that will help identify challenges. Learn how to help others see challenges in new ways, empower others and find creative solutions together. This course includes working on a case study with other participants. syllabus  sample presentation

Leadership Development Team Training

Many congregations only think about developing new leaders around the time that the nominating committee is looking for potential board members. Instead, we recommend that congregations see leadership development as part of an arc of faith development that includes not just leadership skills, but also leadership sensibilities and faith development. 

Below is a self-guided training that your Leadership Development Team can use to design your own internal program. 


  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    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. ...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    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 teams and not just individuals can make all the difference!
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    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).
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Anxiety about lack of volunteers and leaders can often lead to treating them as human capital. Ironically, this anxiety-fueled approach tend to produce disappointing results. Instead, creating a program based on a relationship of mutuality, generosity and gratitude can create a culture where people desire to serve.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    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
    Every one-to-one recruitment invitation should include these four major components which are based on paying attention to the individual and building authentic relationship.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    All systems need feedback loops and organizations like congregations are no different. Your Leadership Development program will be more responsive if you develop assessments and other tools to help you learn and adjust as needed.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    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.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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