Connection, Meaning, and Inspired Action

Someone emailed asking if I’ve used Tapestry of Faith, the UUA’s new “cradle-to-grave” lifespan faith development curricula.  I haven’t.  Have you?  The issue was raised if this is serving to “deepen the pool.”  A reference to my comment that we lose youth in part because we offer them a shallow pool faith wise which they leave for bigger and deeper things.

Relevance to growth?  An outstanding faith development ministry (program, strategy, _____) must be a pillar of what we do in our congregations, our success, and our growth.  From my small group work I talk a lot about congregational life serving to help us….

  1. form connections/relationships
  2. create/find meaning, and through the interaction of these two (a.k.a. purpose & community)
  3. take inspired action.

As of this post that’s my church growth trinity — Connection, Meaning, Inspired Action.   The Rev. Bob Hill, former South West district executive and Covenant Group/Small Group Ministry advocate, often spoke of our need for “intimacy and ultimacy” and the power of small groups to help us find this.  Over time I’ve added a third leg to the stool — you need three to stand, righ? — which is what I call inspired action.  At a past UUA Larger Church Conference I shared this with the Rev. Tom Chulak.  I told him I just needed a more eloquent term so it would fit in with “intimacy and ultimacy.”  He suggested the word efficacy.  Not bad.  Intimacy, Ultimacy, Efficacy.  I use meaning, connection and inspired action — you don’t have to translate.

Anyhow,  I wonder how your congregation is doing on these three.  How intentional are you about each?

One thought on “Connection, Meaning, and Inspired Action

  1. I agree with you about the third leg. I also have been in the habit of quoting Bob Hill on ‘Intimacy and Ultimacy.’ I also had an insight (this summer, at Swuusi) that there has to be a third leg, of service.

    But I don’t think ‘efficacy’ captures it. People have a spiritual need to serve. You can go to Charity Navigator, find a highly efficient charity, and send them a thousand bucks. That has great efficacy. But it won’t feed that spiritual hunger for service. Visiting a prisoner in jail, on the other hand, has low efficacy. It won’t change the system. But it will feed your soul, possibly transform you, in a way that social action usually doesn’t.

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