Theme-based ministry, sometimes called theme-based church, helps create multigenerational connections as people of all ages explore common themes in age-appropriate ways. Theme-based ministry extends faith development beyond Sunday morning. Families can continue the conversation in the car ride home or over the dinner table; small groups that meet during the week can go deeper with the theme.
This model can be used with any sized congregation. We’ve seen it work in congregations with a worship attendance of 35 and in congregations with a worshipping community of 900+ with a full complement of theme programs taking place throughout the week.
Why Theme-Based Ministry
- Offer worship experiences with depth
- Ensure a balance of theological and religious learning
- Better integrate spiritually connected programming across the lifespan
- Weave a central thread throughout all church programming
- Build a cohesive theological understanding
- Find common language and common symbols
- Embrace a practical theology you use in everyday life
- Meet the very real challenge of today’s busy families and intermittent church attendance
- Give focus to your music and arts staff
Theme-Based Ministry Resources
Theme-based ministry is happening in more and more congregations throughout our movement as a powerfully engaging way of focusing the life of a congregation on monthly themes through worship, religious education, small groups and other activities.
Compare Themes from Different Programs and Subscription Services
WorshipWeb offers a Yearly Worship Calendar, which includes faith-based and secular holidays that UU congregations often celebrate, plus monthly worship themes used in four popular theme-based ministry programs.
Past Yearly Worship Calendars
- View 2021-2022 themes (PDF).
- View 2020-2021 themes (PDF) .
- View 2019-2020 themes (PDF).
- View 2018-2019 themes (PDF) .
Search UUA Website Resources by Theme
- Listing of all of the UUA "Spiritual Theme" tags
- WorshipWeb Materials Use tags to search by "Spiritual Theme" as well as worship component type (such as chalice lighting or prayer).
- Tapestry of Faith Program Materials Use tags to search by "Spiritual Theme" as well as age or resource type (such as story or activity).
Watch Recorded Workshops on Theme-Based Ministry
- Deepening Our UU Faith through Theme-Based Ministry The Rev. Matthew Johnson, Sheila Schuh (CRE) , Rev. Jan Taddeo, and Kathy Smith share their experiences with Theme-Based Ministry and tips on how to get started.
- Theme-Based Ministry: A Keystone Habit: Practical Tips for Theme-based ministry The Rev. Scott Tayler looks at a number of theme-based church models and discusses how to tweak those models to fit our own settings.