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A few years ago I attended a weekend workshop called, “Planning for Growth and Vitality for Small Congregations.” I came away inspired, and bubbling with ideas and information. The workshop affirmed what I had heard before. That the most effective way to bring new members into a congregation is for us to invite our friends and acquaintances. But here’s something I did not know: According to a survey, Unitarian Universalists (UUs) invite someone to come to church, on average, every 27 years!! I think we can do a little better than that!
But if inviting people were the only thing we needed to know about growing our congregations, it would’ve been a very short workshop. Obviously, there’s more to it. After that weekend, I came to the conclusion that we need to think beyond increasing the membership rolls and focus more on developing what the workshop leaders called an “outward orientation.” Now, an outward orientation doesn’t mean you’re secretly trying to get people to join your congregation. It simply means you’re open and enthusiastic about your Unitarian Universalism. Here’s a list of some of the ways we can practice an open orientation. How many of these things are you already doing? Which ones might you be willing to try?
Unitarian Universalism has such an important message to offer the world today; let’s give others the opportunity to hear it!
Audio Essay Series: Volume 3: Small Congregations, Track 12 (MP3, 4:12 minutes)
Author: The Reverend Kim D. Wilson, former Coordinator for the UUA Clearinghouse
Date of Release: February 2009
This Audio Essay series was created by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, for the purpose of supporting its valued lay leaders. Copying and sharing these essay texts, downloadable audio ﬁles, and the companion Lay Leader Drive Time Essays compact disc is welcomed and encouraged.
Comments or suggestions? We welcome your ideas about this Audio Essay series and your lay leader questions. Please send them to Don Skinner, the editor of InterConnections, a resource for lay leaders: interconnections @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
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