Begin with opening words and virtual chalice. State that the purpose of the workshop is to pose questions and offer information that will generate discussion, stimulate ideas, and motivate you to take action in your congregation that will help to promote growth. 10 minutes
ask what growth would look like in their congregations? Write responses on flip chart paper. Put list aside for the time being and move on to the next slide 10 minutes
Talk about how deepening the faith has an impact on every other area of growth. Go back to question of what will growth look like and see how many responses have to do with deepening the faith.
When I talk about faith, I’m not referring to blind faith; I’m not referring to belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination; I’m not referring to an unconscious, almost mechanical allegiance to something in the face of compelling change or contrary evidence.
I am referring to the deepening of our Unitarian Universalist faith; a strengthening of our faith in and commitment to each other; a faith strong enough to overcome conflict and take extraordinary risks and never lose confidence in who we are as a congregation and what we can become.
These are the nouns, these are the qualities that you want to have in your congregation in order to spur growth, to make lasting changes in your congregation and to do it with minimum disruption to your relationships with one another and to the very fabric of your soul as a congregation. We’ll spend the rest of our time together talking about ways in which we can deepen our faith and our relationships with each other; how we can spur maturational growth and in so doing, grow in these other ways as well. Ask for comments and facilitate discussion. Should be about one hour in. Take a 10 minute break.
Set up legacy exercise and follow with values exercise.
Mine are inspiration, empowerment and joy. I live that through my work to inspire others to achieve greatness, by lifting people up so that they can see their potential and by bringing laughter into their lives.
I believe in the power of relationships and the ability to transform my own life by helping to transform the lives of others. I believe that true meaning in my life comes not through isolation, but through negotiation and collaboration with those who share my world. To 3:15 or so
Facilitate discussion for ten minutes. Look for answers such as silence in worship, opportunity for meditation, UU courses, small group ministry, social action that extends outside the walls of the congregation. Talk about the need to tie congregational life to UU principles and values. The need for worship that is meditative and uses silence; that recognizes the need to be contemporary, but provides a space for spirituality and a sense of awe.
Since we are not a creedal community, there are no laws or rules that require us to live this covenant. Neither though are we free to do whatever we want and to act in such a way that blatantly violates the tenets of this agreement. Instead, creating a behavioral covenant requires what Gilbert Rendle calls, “obedience to the unenforceable: that area of our lives of faith in which we submit to certain ways of living because we hold membership in a faith community that rests on beliefs and values that prescribe such behaviors.” This is the area of life, says Rendle, in which we do certain things because we understand that, according to our faith, they are the right things to do. For example, in our congregation, there is no law or rule that says we must forgive another for a perceived wrong. But neither are we free as individuals in this church community to publicly shun or ridicule that person as a result. Instead, we practice forgiveness in our own way and perhaps in our own time simply because it is consistent with our beliefs and because it is the right thing to do. Another example: We are not required by any law to respect the worth and dignity of others. But neither are we free to show open disrespect and disregard for our fellow congregants. We respect the worth and dignity of each other simply because it is consistent with our beliefs and because it is the right thing to do.
Growing from the inside out powerpoint-shorter presentation
Growing From the Inside Out: Leading Your Congregation in Faith Development Joseph Priestley District Spring Conference April 17, 2010
What would growth look like in your congregation?
HOW DO I GROW THEE?????? <ul><li>Growing the Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Any congregation that does not develop an effective method of recruiting new membership will wither and die. It is part of the mission of a UU Congregation to spread our faith. </li></ul><ul><li>Deepening the Faith </li></ul><ul><li>The ability of a congregation to challenge, support and encourage each one of its members to grow in the maturity of their faith, to deepen their spiritual roots, and to broaden their religious imaginations. </li></ul>
HOW DO I GROW THEE?????? <ul><li>Increasing internal stability </li></ul><ul><li>The task of building the community, creating organizational structures, developing practices and processes that result in a dependable, stable network of human relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging in loving action in the community </li></ul><ul><li>The involvement of the congregation in the world, or the ways in which the congregation wants its faith to make a difference in the world </li></ul><ul><li>Adapted from Loren Mead , More Than Numbers: </li></ul><ul><li>The Ways Churches Grow </li></ul>
JPD 2009 Growing Numbers Action in the Community Deepening Faith Internal Stability
In order to have a positive vision for growth, and in order to meet any challenge to the realization of that vision, we need to….. <ul><li>HAVE FAITH </li></ul>
Faith is not … <ul><li>Blind faith </li></ul><ul><li>Belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>An unconscious, almost mechanical allegiance to something in the face of compelling change or contrary evidence. </li></ul>
Faith is… <ul><li>A deepening of our Unitarian Universalist beliefs and principles. </li></ul><ul><li>A strengthening of our belief in and commitment to each other </li></ul><ul><li>A way of living that enables us to gain strength through conflict and adversity; to take extraordinary risks and to never lose confidence in who we are as a congregation and in what we can become. </li></ul>
According to Thesauras.Com <ul><li>acceptance certainty confidence </li></ul><ul><li>hope loyalty reliance </li></ul><ul><li>fidelity truth dependence </li></ul><ul><li>connection teaching principle </li></ul><ul><li>credence persuasion </li></ul>
So…let’s be clear on what I’m proposing here <ul><li>Faith Development helps members of a congregation better understand their UU identity. </li></ul><ul><li>This aids in growing the numbers as congregants go out into the world and speak with passion and clarity about UUsm. </li></ul><ul><li>Faith Development better supports each member’s journey in living out their UU faith both within the walls of the congregation and in the wider world. </li></ul><ul><li>This aids in both internal stability and loving action in the community by developing more leaders, promoting volunteerism, and enhancing social justice and social action initiatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Faith Development enhances an environment for overall growth by helping members live in covenant with each other in order to manage conflict, embrace change, and ensure open communication. </li></ul>
How do we promote greater faith development in our congregations? <ul><li>We start with leaders who are clear on what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and are able to articulate it! </li></ul><ul><li>We encourage members of the congregation to develop their own UU identity through workshops, worship and involvement in congregational life that is clearly connected to Unitarian Universalist principles and beliefs. </li></ul><ul><li>We develop behavioral covenants with each other that aid everyone in living out their UU identity and principles. </li></ul>
Write Your Legacy: How do you want to be remembered? What have you done as a UU that you are most proud of? What have you received from your UU experience that has been most significant?
<ul><li>Gandhi spoke of absolute values or universal principles that guide our conduct. His were truth and nonviolence. </li></ul><ul><li>What are your absolute values? </li></ul><ul><li>Look to your legacy for the answers! </li></ul>
<ul><li>Combining your legacy (what you have done) with your values (what you believe in), write your credo as it relates to your Unitarian Universalist identity. This is a set of beliefs and guiding principles. In no more than two sentences, it must begin with the words “As a Unitarian Universalist, I believe…” </li></ul>
How do you help members of your congregation create their Unitarian Universalist identities and live out their beliefs? What programming, activities of congregational life, and opportunities for social action do you provide?
Behavioral Covenants <ul><li>“ A behavioral covenant is a written document developed by leaders, agreed to and owned by its creators, and practices on a daily basis as a spiritual discipline. It is a way of developing common language, common commitments, and an awareness of healthy behaviors.” </li></ul><ul><li>Gil Rendle </li></ul><ul><li>Obedience to the unenforceable: “that area of our lives of faith in which we submit to certain ways of living because we hold membership in a faith community that rests on beliefs and values that prescribe such behaviors.” </li></ul>
A covenant involves the promises that people make in mutual responsibility and agreement. As in any agreement between individuals, there will be times when we fail to live up to those promises. But the nature of covenant means that we grant one another the right and responsibility to call us back to the promises we have made.
For your reading pleasure… <ul><li>Behavioral Covenants in Congregations . Gilbert R. Rendle,1999, The Alban Institute. </li></ul><ul><li>The Almost Church . Michael Durall, 2004, Jenkin Lloyd Jones Press. </li></ul><ul><li>The Almost Church Revitalized . Michael Durall, 2009, Commonwealth Consulting Group. </li></ul><ul><li>Close the Back Door . Alan F. Harre, 1984, Concordia Publishing House. </li></ul>
“ Love is the source and creator of life. Love is the essential power that deepens our relationships and simultaneously expands our humanity. The more we are freed to be ourselves, the more we are enabled to give our lives away to others. The more we know of life-giving love, the more we find the courage to express and reveal the ground of our being.” John Shelby Spong Episcopal Bishop