This 2020 edition of Harvest the Power, like the 2009 original, asserts that leadership in a congregational setting can and should be a deeply spiritual experience. The program was created not only to strengthen the skills of those who have accepted the responsibility of leadership in our congregations, but also to offer intentional faith development as a way to help form integrated leaders who model healthy personal and leadership practices.
This edition, consisting of six two-hour workshops, reflects understandings gained from faithful practice of congregational leadership in a multigenerational, multicultural, diverse, and inclusive faith community. Informed by the work of Juana Bordas, published in Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, this program guides leaders to cultivate a “we” culture in our congregations, with relationships and covenant at the center, rather than an “I” culture of autonomous individuals. It asks participants to examine the perspectives and gifts, strengths and challenges they each bring to the leadership team. It invites them to form a covenanted team together that is stronger than its parts and effective in staying in relationship with those in the faith community and in the larger community that surrounds them. The workshops consider stresses and opportunities presented by this time in Unitarian Universalism, offering frameworks and strategies to help leaders engage with congregational conflict as a way to grow in capacity to respond faithfully and live out the congregation’s mission and values in the world.
This edition comes at a time of rapid change in our world and in our faith. A commitment to congregational life competes with many other priorities for time on people’s calendars. People struggle to manage the day-to-day demands of family life, work life, and interests, hobbies, and volunteer work. In the midst of today’s changes, it is truly remarkable that so many people come forward and agree, with varying amounts of enthusiasm, to accept leadership positions in our congregations. What a gift it is that they give to their faith community—a gift of their time, their love, and their talent! That gift deserves the best that the congregation can give in return—an experience of leadership that is both challenging and rewarding, that is an opportunity for spiritual growth as well as skill development. The Harvest the Power program is a tool to help congregations support and strengthen their leaders in a way that honors the gifts that each brings.