Deep Generalists

MidAmerica Staff Deep Generalist Description

If you’re curious about the ways our former District Staff are serving the new Region, here is our philosophy, as well as more detail about the areas of responsibility we each has taken on. Our District Boards and the UUA’s Director of Congregational Life have reviewed it. Please contact any of us with your thoughts.

MidAmerica Field Staff are adopting the model of “deep generalist” for our staffing model.[1] Under this model, all co-funded staff members (that where UUA and region share expenses) will be able to provide the responses and services in most areas of congregational life. All staff will together take responsibility for supporting our congregations in engaging emerging trends and seeking justice. Our vision is that all co-funded staff of the region will share a common title, perhaps Congregational Life Consultant.

We can help you ask the right questions, and provide you with resources to help you move forward in congregational life.

Shared general level competency of co-funded staff. Each member of the co-funded staff will be expected to possess and keep current basic level competencies and share commitments of the team to preparing our congregations for the future:

  • General level congregational intervention and consulting capacity
  • Membership and Growth
  • Leadership
  • Faith Development Ministries
  • Future trends in such areas as technology, demography, and generational characteristics. [2]
  • Multigenerational Involvement
  • Finances, including stewardship and administration
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Transitions in professional leadership
  • Governance and Organizational Development
  • Multicultural competency
  • Congregational Justice Making (including intercultural competency)
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Staffing and Human Resources
  • Youth Programming
  • Young Adult and Campus Ministry Programming

Areas of specialization of co-funded staff. Each co-funded staff member also has deep areas of specialization in which they will both serve congregations and serve as national resources. As this change occurs, we expect representatives of national UUA staff team to participate in our team both in direct service to MidAmerica congregations and as support for our regional capacity. Note: The larger team will include region-funded staff in such areas as administration and technology, consulting and volunteer staff with specialized skills and role, and national staff in such areas as stewardship assigned to specific regions.

Congregational leaders should feel free to reach out to any MidAmerica staff member with their questions or concerns. If you already have a relationship with one of us, feel free to start there, knowing that we may refer you to another member when that is wise. For those who don’t already have relationships with us:


Additional roles for co-funded staff. In addition to the above roles staff will also:

  • Represent the team as liaison with groups within and beyond the region.
  • Take internal programmatic and administrative roles within the regional programmatic and administrative structure.

Final Note: Co-funded staff of the MidAmerica Region are employees of the UUA. Lead responsibility for such matters as job titles, job descriptions, and compensation lies with the UUA Department for Congregational Life and the Department of Human Resources.

[1] Andrew Sobel defines a deep generalist as “someone who has a core expertise onto which he or she layers knowledge of related and sometimes unrelated fields.” This is the ability to put narrower technical expertise into the service of an organization adapting to complex realities by integrating many differing and even competing perspectives and areas of expertise.

[2] Designing the Future of Faith Formation (PDF)

About the Authors

Nancy Combs-Morgan

Nancy Combs-Morgan has been immersed in Unitarian Universalist faith development for 22+ years, including 6 as a Director of Religious Education, and 16 years on UUA district and regional staff....

Sharon Dittmar

Reverend Dittmar graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1997. She served one year as Interim Minister at the Gathering at Northern Hills (Cincinnati, OH 1997-1998), and eighteen years as Minister at First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati (1998-2016). In 2016 she began work as Congregational Life...

Phillip Lund

Phillip Lund has almost twenty years experience serving congregations in the areas of faith formation and spiritual growth, first as a religious educator in Bloomington, Indiana, New York City, and Chicago, Illinois, and most recently as a congregational life consultant working for the MidAmerica...

Lisa Presley

Lisa Presley is a life-long Unitarian Universalist who was an active lay leader before entering our ministry in 1991. As a lay leader she was board president, board member, worship associate, stewardship campaign chair, religious education teacher, bookkeeper, secretary, and shoveled the snow as...

David Pyle

The Rev. David Pyle is the Regional Lead and a Congregational Life Consultant with the MidAmerica Regional Staff. Rev. Pyle holds a Masters of Divinity from the Meadville Lombard Theological School and a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from East Tennessee State University. He...

Cameron Young

Cameron Young is a native Texan and lifelong Unitarian Universalist. Having grown up in those programs, they developed a particular affinity for youth and young adult ministry. Prior to joining the UUA, Cameron served as a lifespan religious educator in Fort Worth, Texas for five years, having...

MidAmerica Region of the UUA

For more information, see the page about the MidAmerica Region.

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