Measure in Dog Years
Measure in Church Time Dog Years

Church leaders that I work with are often frustrated with the slow, almost glacial speed of change in congregational life.  What might take a month or two in the workplace takes a year in the church.

Our American corporate culture creates high expectations around "working harder and smarter" and expecting quick turnarounds on "deliverables" whether it be a widget, a report or even a response to an email. 

I hope that our congregational cultures operate out of a different ethic and deeper values. I find it helpful to remember that--at most--our lay leaders can only devote one day out of a seven-day week of their time and energy on their volunteer duties.

Another way of thinking of this is measuring the progress of projects in church using the same conversion factor when we measure the lifespan of dogs, i.e. one dog year equals seven human years. So the next time you feel frustrated at the slow pace of church, remember Fido and change your expectations by a factor of 7.

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.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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