The Rev. Thom Belote has posted a document/article generated at the UUA’s recent Growth Consultation titled “7 Principles of Vital UU Congregations.” For a background and a list of other posts by Belote on this consultation click here.
The following are the seven principles identified by the ministers and UUA staff participating in the consultion . See the original post for Belote’s commentary on the list.
The Seven Principles for UU Congregational Vitality
1) The Congregation has a clear and powerful Purpose and Mission
• The congregation possesses a compelling narrative that connects past, present, and future.
• The congregation’s story is constantly embodied and rehearsed.
2) The Congregation is aware of & responsive to the world around it
• Another way of saying this is to say that the congregation has a “sense of place” that is theologically informed.
• The public mission is owned and embodied by the congregation.
• There is strong leadership and high levels of participation in living out the public mission. [It is not just the minister doing it or a committee or a group of people who are marginal in the life of the congregation.]
3) There is vital worship and a vital Sunday experience for all ages
• “It’s gotta sing”: vitality and energy are felt throughout the congregation on Sundays.
• There is coherence in the church’s programming. Sunday morning is an aesthetic whole.
• The worship service is relevant and meaningful in people’s lives.
• Music inspires and moves the congregation.
4) Church is done well [this principle is in reference to administration and leadership.]
• This principle has to do with Policies, Practices, and Places.
• The above are clear, adaptable, and responsive to the evolving needs of the congregation.
• There is a sense that we must be willing to change ourselves in order to “do church well.”
5) The Congregation cultivates religious community
• The community participates in shared practices and rituals.
• The congregation provides connections where there is disconnection. [This is another way to describe the building of the beloved community: It encompasses multiculturalism, multigenerationalism, and other forms of diversity.]
• The congregation provides a safe atmosphere and environment where healthy relationships can be built.
• The congregation recognizes and overcomes its own idolatries in how it envisions community.
6) The Congregation builds skills to lead and nurtures gifts to serve
• People who come to a church discern a call in community.
• The community nurtures, trains, honors, and trusts leaders.
7) Strong ministerial leadership supports the fulfillment of the previous six principles.
What do you think of this list? I’m going to see how it compares to the other similar lists I have from various church growth books…