The Southern Region Leadership Experiences are BACK: With a Twist!

By Natalie Briscoe

Sending leaders to a Leadership Experience is an investment in the future of a congregation and in the future of Unitarian Universalism. Leadership Experience (LE) participants are more grounded in Unitarian Universalism and hear a deeper call to serve. They function at a high level and are able to inspire and invite others. Because this experience is so valuable for individuals, teams, and congregations, the Southern Region staff recommends that congregations build leadership development, in general, and send teams to Leadership Experiences, in particular, into their budgets.

Overall, Leadership Experience Goals are: 

  • To grow religious leaders who are able and feel called to steward our Unitarian Universalist faith
  • To support congregations by giving leaders the skills, tools, and framework they need to lead both the congregation of Unitarian Universalists and the formal organization of the church
  • To strengthen Unitarian Universalism through healthy, vital congregations and communities that are the institutional incarnation of our core values
  • To create networks of committed, spiritually-centered, and values-based leaders wherein the co-creation of Unitarian Universalism, spiritual study and practice, and justice-making holds a vision of the Beloved Community across the south.

Leadership Experience in the Southern Region

The Southern Region Leadership Experience is a three-part, nine-month, online course designed to support leaders at all levels. The sections of the Leadership Experience must be taken in sequential order.

Section One: Primer Leadership Experience

The Primer section of the LE is a self-paced experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and one live processing session. The topics covered in the Primer LE are UU Theology, Covenant, and UU History.

The Primer section of the Leadership Experience builds your foundation in and connection to Unitarian Universalism. This section is for newer members who would like a grounding in our shared faith AND for long-time members who would like to deepen their relationship with our shared faith as well as gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be an every-day Unitarian Universalist. All ages are welcome for these online offerings, and they are a wonderful augmentation to Coming of Age, Youth, Young Adult, and membership development programs in your congregation.

Congregations are encouraged to support their membership in participating through scholarships. There are no prerequisites for the Primer section. There are no nominations requirements or team requirements for the Primer section; individuals may register on their own.

The Primer LE cost is $45 per person. The remaining 2023-24 Primer LE Processing Session date is February 7th, 2024. Register for the February 7, 2024, Primer LE processing session. (Registration will close on January 28th (or earlier if our participant limit has been reached).

Section Two: Essentials Leadership Experience

The Essentials section is a three-session experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and activities between three live processing sessions. The topics covered in the Essentials section are Congregational Foundations, System Theory, and Dimensions of Faith Development.

For this 2023-24 program year, the materials on Faith Development will be combined with the System Theory materials, with a focus on culture change and culture dynamics within a congregation. In addition, we are adding a section on Adaptive and Spiritual Leadership as its own section. There are still three sections, but the topics will be: (1) Congregational Foundations, (2) Adaptive and Spiritual Leadership, and (3) Culture Change, System Theory, and Faith Development.

Offerings in the Essentials section are for gaining critical skills for holding leadership positions within your congregation. They are for members who would like to increase their competency in congregational theory and management. The Essentials section events are particularly useful for board members, members of the Committee on Ministry or Committee on Shared Ministry, Staff, Religious Professionals, Religious Education Teachers, Youth Advisors, Committee Chairs, and members of your visioning or strategic planning team. All ages are welcome for these online offerings, especially any Youth representatives on your board or on your committees.

Completion of the Primer LE in the 2022-23 or 2023-24 program year is required to register for the Essentials LE.

The Essentials LE series cost is $90 per person. The 2023-24 Essentials LE will run from January 2024 to April 2024 (with live processing sessions on February 24, March 23, and April 20). Register for the 2023-24 Essentials LE. (Please note, spaces are limited, and registration closes on February 1st).

Section Three: Breakthrough Leadership Experience

The Breakthrough section is a three-session experience that focuses on the praxis of Unitarian Universalist living. This portion of the experience helps your congregation breakthrough its old patterns and habits and fully incarnate Unitarian Universalism in your Beloved Community. With a strong focus on UU Theology and embodied practice, this year’s Breakthrough LE will help leaders more fully understand spiritual leadership through the lens of spiritual practice and small group ministry.

Completion of the Essentials LE (at any point) is required to register for the Breakthrough LE.

The cost is $75 per person, and no nominations or teams are required for the Breakthrough section; individuals may register on their own.

Supporting Leadership Development in Your Congregation

Your Southern Region staff supports membership and leadership development in your congregation with these Leadership Experiences, Leadership Webinars, Presidents’ Gatherings, Professional Gatherings, Cluster Gatherings, and more. We also offer consultations for individual congregations and communities toward creating membership and leadership paths and building infrastructure in your congregation that grows your membership and leadership capacity. If you would like a consultation for your congregation or you would like to host a cluster leadership event, please fill out our Partnership Activation Form