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

Activity 4: What I Need

(20 minutes)


  • Newsprint, markers, and wall-safe tape
  • Optional: Paper and pens or pencils for all participants


  • Post blank newsprint.


In this activity, participants focus on their particular role as a congregational leader and name parts of that role that they find stressful, energizing, or both. If they belong to a leadership group that is working together, this activity provides an opportunity for participants to ask for specific supports to reduce some of the stress they experience in their leadership roles.

Draw a vertical line to divide the newsprint in half. At the top of one column, write “Energizes/feeds me.” At the top of the other, write “Stresses/depletes me.” Allow about eight minutes for participants to name one way in which the leadership work energizes or feeds them and one way in which it stresses or depletes them. Record their responses. Acknowledge that since we respond differently to situations, people might list the same item in two different columns.

After each person has named two items, ask for any items that belong somewhere between the two. Then ask if there are important items that have not yet been mentioned.

If the participants currently work together as leaders (e.g., as members of a governing board), allow time for them to consider ways to increase the “energizing/feeding” experiences and decrease the “stressing/depleting” experiences. Guide them to identify specific ways that the group might accommodate individual members’ stated needs.

If the participants do not currently work together in a congregational setting, distribute paper and pens or pencils and invite them to write down a few things that make it more rewarding and less stressful for them to hold a leadership role. Invite participants to share their list with a partner. Suggest that they practice framing their list as requests for the specific supports they need in order to thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their leadership role.

Spend the last few minutes discussing (in pairs or as a group) ways that leadership team members might be able to meet one another’s needs for support.