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Mission/Vision/Planning

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Central East Regional Group

  • By David Pyle
    For the last four years, I have had the honor of serving the congregations of the Central East Region of the UUA, first as the District Executive of the Joseph Priestley District, and then as a Primary Contact and as a specialist in governance, staffing, ministry, and pastoral care.
  • After developing a vision statement, it can sometimes be difficult to communicate how it should impact the ministry of the congregation. The UU Fellowship of Greater Cumberland created this stunning Vision Visual to help guide that process. They plan to share it at…and post it…. So that it can...
  • You don’t have to be in a growing area to see growth and vitality in your congregation. What you do need is energy, focus and a strong sense of purpose. Recently, Andy Crabb, the President of the First Unitarian Church of Youngstown, OH, posted how his congregation had a significant increase in...
  • By Megan Foley
    Who knows why our Central East Region staff decided to schedule our congregational check-ins for February this year? What a surprising opportunity it turned out to be to see how congregations turn from crisis and overwhelm to resolve and commitment....
  • Many churches celebrate important anniversaries, but it’s rare that congregational historians take a wider view. But when Bill Parke, the Church Historian of the UU Church of Buffalo noted this anniversary, he researched the topic and came up with this lovely display and story....
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    “Wayside Pulpits” have been mainstays at UU congregations for decades. They started out as outside display cases that hold an uplifting quote from a famous sage (or other respected source) printed on heavy poster-sized paper. Some examples are:...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    What is our core business – as congregations; as a faith community? There is a lot riding on how we answer that question.
  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m wearing green – how about you? And after a winter such as we have had, that green is a precious promise of spring. A promise of fresh green grass, new lettuce and peas in the pod. This is also the season of pledge campaigns, a plea and a hope for plentiful funds...

LeaderLab

  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    The purpose provision of the bylaws distinguishes the congregation from other institutions in the community and sets out the basic parameters for all the activity of the congregation.
  • By Laura Park, Robert L. Eller-Isaacs
    This exercise helps the governing body of religious institutions answer the question: What timeless, transcendent qualities of our religious community will we embody in all we do?
  • By Alice Mann, Ken Beldon, Thom Belote, John Crestwell, Kendra Ford, Robert Hardies, Peter Morales, Christine C. Robinson, Victoria E Safford, Michael A Schuler, Marilyn Sewell, Elizabeth Lerner Maclay
    12 Ministers from Growing and Diverse UU Congregations Talk About Growth
  • By James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Region of the UUA
    A congregation’s mission is an answer to the question, “Why does this congregation exist in the world?” Congregational leaders are constantly faced with a barrage of decisions. Without a clear mission, how can they make those decisions?
  • The vision, mission, covenant and other guiding documents can be incorporated into the life of the congregation in an unlimited number of ways in order to keep them in front of the members. The following are some suggestions:
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    To keep your mission, vision, covenant and other guiding documents relevant, it's helpful to revisit them every 5-7 years.
  • By Barbara Child
    UU Communities can be very different from one another! Use this continuum exercise to see how your congregations understands itself.
  • By Douglas Zelinski
    Mission speaks to the congregation’s calling, the source of its integrity and it’s central reason for being. What are we called to be and do?
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Vision statements need to be useful to the leaders. Effective vision statements tend to have common characteristics.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    This process can be run in a morning, afternoon, or a longish evening. The program works well with teenagers on up to seniors.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    As your congregation moves into times of discernment, such as doing vision, mission, or covenant work, powerful questions are ways to surface deep understandings and creative ideas.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Leaders who want to engage the creativity of the congregation in a process (such as the creation of guiding documents or strategic plans) can learn to ask questions and host conversations that will facilitate group learning.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Teams who are just forming, or who have an important project, need to take the time to form as a team. A team retreat is a time for the members of the team to get to know one another and figure out how to work well together.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Guiding documents like bylaws, covenants, mission statements, vision statements and strategic plans are developed in consultation with the congregation as a whole so that there is a general sense of trust and ownership. The documents can then serve as guides for the board, minister, staff and lay leaders.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    The words vision, mission, and covenant have been used but the meanings have varied over time and context. This is one model of understanding.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Congregations that have living vision, mission, and covenant statements are the ones that are growing—not only in numbers but also in the depth of membership commitment.
  • By Robert T. Latham
    A brief outline of the Committee On Ministry (COM) model that was invented in the early nineteen eighties and was honed as a working model over an almost ten year period in a mid-sized congregation.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    What is the place of covenant in our religious history?
  • By Phillip Lund
    There are times when leaders need to take time and space to struggle with deeper questions. Generative conversations can create that kind of space
  • By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA
    Leaders know why they are active, and how they are seeking to make a difference in the world; they understand that congregational life is not about making people “happy,” but by knowing how the congregation is called to serve their community, and are then faithful to that calling
  • By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA
    Faith communities function best when they have a clear understanding of why they exist and where they are going next. Leaders help to articulate the mission and lead toward the vision.
  • By Sue Phillips, New England Region of the UUA
    Dynamic congregations rarely have a hard time dreaming new dreams, but many struggle to choose from among a parade of compelling ideas about how to use their time and energy.
  • By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA
    Questions for Discussion How might having specific goals change the experience of serving on the board? What three goals would help you feel like your congregation has accomplished something significant this year?
  • By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA
    I have a love-hate relationship with surveys, especially surveys used as a part of congregational planning. Frankly, used in this context they can often do more harm than good. When used as one among a number of ways of collecting data, they can get great and comparatively easy way to add peripheral vision to face-to-face methods of gathering response. Here Ian Evison offers a few guidelines for using surveys well.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Organizations, like all systems, seek equilibrium. If a congregation is thrown out of balance by the prospect of change, most members will seek to restore order and sameness. This is natural and should not be a reason to judge one another. Healthy organizations have developed the ability to be receptive to change and resistance--to lean into the disruption to their equilibrium. This is where a congregation becomes a community of learning.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    A brief overview of how Governance and Ministry partner to serve the mission of the congregation. (Based on Dan Hotchkiss's Governance and...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA
    Is you congregation growing, static or in decline? This video, based on the book Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Gary L. McIntosh
  • By UUA Congregational Life: Growth Strategies For Congregations Office
    Creates a shared vision of the church, an effective mission statement and dynamic mission-centered goals to implement the mission. Develops...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    This image is one mental model in understanding mission in a congregation. The heart in the center is the core purpose of your congregation...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    We often claim that budgets are moral documents, and that congregational budgets should reflect our values. But line item budgets that include "office supplies, utilities, salary" and other such descriptions don't show how these line items serve the mission of the congregation. How might we re-imagine how we categorize our expenditures?
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    There are times when the congregation needs to engage in a process that will enable the congregation to reflect on its future in an organic, open and creative way—as a system. (Traditional congregational meetings do not lend themselves to such a process—they are better suited to issues that...
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    How to create a congregation where people are equipped and empowered to live out the mission through ministry.
  • By Scott Tayler, Tandi Rogers, UUA General Assembly and Conference Services
    Satellites, multi-site, yolked ministries and partnerships can explored by all types of congregations - tiny, large, urban, rural,...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke, Central East Region of the UUA
    Vibrant congregations in today's world live out of a sense of core mission or purpose. Twenty-first leaders need to find ways to embed that mission into all parts of congregational life. This workshop will provide strategies to help your congregation focus its development of leaders and congregants...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Let me share a fable of two congregations. ...
  • By Douglas Zelinski, New England Region of the UUA
    Smaller congregations in many denominations are struggling to survive. This doesn't mean they are necessarily "doing church" badly. But it...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    It's the beginning of the year, and Ministerial Search Committees have just received a list of names of ministers who are interested in...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Once upon a time there was a congregation that wanted a mission statement. They appointed a committee that worked hard. They held cottage...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    I often use General Motors as an example of the top-down model of organization and leadership that is the opposite of what our congregations need to be nimble and vital (and I might add, attractive to Gen-Xers and Millennials). A story from Bloomberg "GM Recalls Stalled in 10 Years of Committee...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    There is a quote that guides me in my work: “We create the path by walking.” How many of us knew exactly who or what we wanted to be when...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Your congregation is committed to growth and understands that growth in numbers results from other kinds of growth. You also know it is important to set goals and measure how well you are doing. ...
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Are all of the members and friends of your church aware of all of the outreach ministries of your church? Is the wider community aware of...

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