How to Grow Unitarian Universalism by Keeping Our Kids (pdf) – the Rev. Christana Wille McKnight

The following is a brief guest post  by the Rev. Christana Wille McKnight.

At the UUA’s 2010 General Assembly Christana presented “How to Grow Unitarian Universalism by Keeping Our Kids.”

Growing Our Faith By Keeping Our Kids
How would you like to grow the denomination by keeping as members the children raised in our churches? Statistics show that other comparable denominations are much more successful at retention than Unitarian Universalists. Come and learn how we can double our annual growth through improving our retention rate.
Rev. Christana Wille McKnight

Session audio is available for purchase.

UPDATE: Christana is presenting  this workshop through our UU Growth Webinar Series.
See webinar details and registration

How to Grow Unitarian Universalism by Keeping Our Kids

Rev. Christana Wille McKnight

I want to thank Peter for hosting the Internet debut of my GA presentation at  As I said to Peter, and to those of you who I met in Minneapolis, there is no more appropriate place for this presentation to be accessible from!

I asked Peter to post this presentation because so many people asked for copies of it at GA.  Since it was impractical to send the documents to everyone who was interested, making the information public was a logical decision.  I have copyrighted the material, however, and if anyone (GA attendee or any of you loyal readers) would like to use this in your congregations, please just drop me a line at

Now, let’s grow this faith!

7 thoughts on “How to Grow Unitarian Universalism by Keeping Our Kids (pdf) – the Rev. Christana Wille McKnight

  1. the RE directors and ministers. I feel that it is potentially the most important workshop I have attended in seven GAS. I would add one point : providing intellectual defenses against competing theologies by using the conceptual knowlege that has accrued to the UU identity. This includes “No religion has a monopoly on truth”, “Each generation must write its own bible”, “Deed not creed”, and “In a relevant religion reason and religion are not in conflict”.

  2. Over the decades, when UU’s would proudly say that “9 out of 10 UU’s are comeouters” as proof of how wonderfully attractive we are, I would be the one in the back asking “wouldn’t it be more like 4 out of 10, and wouldn’t we be much larger, if we ever kept our own kids?” Didn’t get a lot of interest in that question, I’m sad to say. I’m glad to see this being dealt with by the younger generation and with the full panoply of facts, statistics, etc. Thanks for, at last, naming this elephant in the living room.

  3. I am a raised UU and have been active in UU churches all of my life. Neither of my children participate in UU churches. However my 14year old granddaughter goes to Ferry Beach Camp every summer for one week and although she has never attended UU church feels very connected to UUism as she experiences it at camp.

    I attend UU church most Sundays, sing in the choir, do RE, am on committees and chair them, etc. I also go to my UU Women’s Group. It meets weekly year round in the evening. It is run using shared leadership with three meetings each year to decide what each weekly program will be and who will run it. There is much variety in the programs. This is where I get my spiritual nourishment. I feel that what I get from the women’s group is similar to what my grandchild gets from camp. It has a richness that is not present on Sunday morning alone. It also has a richness that is not present in groups that are just based on talking and listening.

    Raised UUs have experienced the richness that youth groups, OWL classes, camps and cons can offer. They are not going to be content sitting and listening for an hour on Sunday morning.

    1. Kate, thanks for your comment. I couldn’t agree more!

      After growing up with youth groups, etc… myself I found I needed a way to engage more deeply with others in the congregation. That led me to work to promote and support our adult small group ministry movement.

      When we have engagement, depth, social action, fun, leadership development — all the things you mention — outside of the regular worship service, then that service becomes a more dynamic and energizing coming together.

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