Thursday, June 21, 2007

growing, growing, grown

Both of the workshops I attended during the day of "ministry days" devoted to continuing education had to do with helping congregations grow. It's a theme of ministry I've never not been concerned with in the nine years of my ministry serving two small congregations. But even for large congregations the imperative of our faith is to reach more people with our liberating spiritual message.

One presenter, Rev. Peter Morales helped me see that numerical growth of members is not the goal, but is an important measurement of progress toward the goal. What we want is spiritually healthy individuals and transformed communities, more people in our UU pews means that we're moving in that direction.

He also reminded me of the need to constantly articulate the vision, and again the vision not being a numerical goal for membership, but the healthy, transformed lives that is the mission of our faith. And finally he emphasized the minister's job of creating a sense of urgency around meeting that goal. It's certainly an urgency I feel.

The point is not to minister to the need of the current congregation, because most of us are already quite comfortable with the church we already have, but to minister to the needs of the future members who haven't found us yet.

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