Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults


Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. 
—Kurt Vonnegut, 20th-century American novelist

This workshop helps participants consider how they care for themselves as leaders and how they encourage and model self-care for other members of the congregation.

Participants reflect on the causes of personal stress and burnout and on their own responses to stress. They name ways they can take care of their own spirits and practice asking for what they need from a leadership group to help them participate with a full heart.

Some activities may evoke emotional responses. Be sure participants understand that this workshop focuses on stress and its impact, and that they are free to “pass” or excuse themselves from an activity at any time.

Optional: Review the UUA pamphlet Spirituality of Service, available at inSpirit: UU Book and Gift Shop. Purchase copies for workshop participants, your leadership team, or the congregation’s pamphlet rack.


This workshop will:

  • Help participants honestly examine their own spiritual well-being
  • Explore the role of leaders in creating a spiritually healthy congregational culture that encourages its volunteers’ spiritual and emotional health
  • Help participants recognize what energizes them and what depletes them and help build empathy for others’ possibly different experiences.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Name responsibilities and accountabilities they hold as people and as leaders
  • Reflect on their sense of spiritual well-being
  • Recognize differences among people regarding what energizes them and what depletes them
  • Practice asking the group for specific support that will make it easier for them to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy while leading
  • Consider their role in preventing their own burnout and in modeling healthy behavior for the congregation
  • Learn strategies to build and maintain a congregational culture that encourages its volunteers’ spiritual and emotional health.






Activity 1: Heads Up!


Activity 2: Bodies of Water Guided Meditation


Activity 3: Working and Coping Styles


Activity 4: What I Need


Activity 5: Confessions of a Prodigal Volunteer


Activity 6: Keeping Priorities Straight in Congregations


Faith in Action: Keeping Priorities Straight



Alternate Activity 1: Juggling Act


Alternative Activity 2: Burnout – A Misnomer


Spiritual Preparation

If you have a personal spiritual practice, engage in it before facilitating this workshop. Consider your spiritual practices, your own level of self-care, and your potential for fatigue and burnout by answering the following questions honestly:

  • In what ways do I currently take good care of myself?
  • In what ways could I take better care of myself?
  • Am I excited about leading this workshop? (If not, why?)
  • Do I currently feel joy or satisfaction regarding my service to the congregation?
  • Does my work at the congregation feel like a chore or an obligation?
  • What is currently causing me stress?
  • What is currently giving me joy?

Writing your answers will help you see any differences in your feelings before and after the workshop.