A UU Leaders Guide to Leaping Deadly Chasms


In the last post I mentioned “eight essential qualities for healthy churches” as detailed in the book Natural Church Development.

The first of the eight is EMPOWERING LEADERSHIP.

Chapter two of our book of the month, The Almost Church Revisited by Michael Durall, is titled “Leadership Makes it or Breaks It.”  I’m with Michael 100%.  Doesn’t matter what else you do, it takes a very few number of people in leadership to put on the brakes.

In my work facilitating retreats (yes, I do that too) I’ve found the following image of leadership helpful.  Imagine your congregation is preparing to leap across a chasm of some size – large enough so you must LEAP.   It is too far for tentative steps, begrudging hops or  inching along.


As leaders in the church your job is to help set the course far enough out so that you can identify  the chasms you want to leap and then move towards them with sufficient energy, momentum and enthusiasm to LEAP with such conviction the rest of the church will practically think they can fly.   If you take on the role of minister or board president or board member you must, in my opinion, learn to have a default position of  “YES!” and  “How can we make this happen?”

Durall offers a number of examples of this in this chapter.  Bottom line, you are part of the engine that makes things happen, you are not the brake.

See the movie Dumbo?  An elephant with huge ears has the ability to fly, he just doesn’t realize it.  He needs a coach and a “magic feather” to convince him he can do it.  In your case, your congregation is the miraculous flying elephant and you as a leader are both the coach and the  feather.

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