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Identifying Potential Leaders for Your Congregation
Identifying Potential Leaders for Your Congregation

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).

Places to Look For Potential Leaders

  • Attend newcomer classes
  • Talk to small group ministry leaders.
  • Hold a ministry fair in the congregation. Enable people to learn more about ways to serve in a fun and festive atmosphere. This provides a transparent, low-risk way for people to explore service.
  • Host special in-person training events that include lots of interaction
  • Ask the "connectors" in the congregation to act as scouts for potential leaders
  • Have members take the Centered Leadership series from the UU Leadership Institute. Schedule workshops to discuss the case studies and participate in the activities provided.

Qualities to Look for in Potential Leaders

  • An understanding and  loyalty to the congregation's mission and vision
  • An understanding and practice of covenantal relationship
  • Some understanding that faith leadership is different than corporate or non-profit leadership
  • A generally positive attitude -- not know for complaining
  • Open to learning and growing, including challenging their own assumptions
  • A commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Integrity—they do what they promise or let others know if they can't follow through
  • Gratitude and a generosity of spirit to the others they work with
  • Grounded and Centered—spiritually, ethically and emotionally
  • Seen as a leader that others follow—has influence
  • Loves people in practice, not just in principle

For a humorous counterpoint to this list, see Top Ten People Who Should NOT Be On Your Board

About the Author

  • Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. She serves congregation in Northeast Ohio and Western New York. She is part of the LeaderLab Design team providing Leadership Development resources and other trainings to congregations.

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