Reviewing UU blogs this morning, one shared this video with the comment, “What’s wrong with these people?”
In this video a couple is being ordained as associates of this ministry and are being sent out as power evangelists.
Watching it I had a different reaction. Mine was, “What’s wrong with us?”
Why aren’t we ordaining associates to go out into the world on behalf of our congregations and Unitarian Universalism at large? Why not ordain associates of your congregation to lead social justice ministries, outreach ministries, addiction ministries and beyond?
What’s holding us back?
What keeps us from unleashing a multitude of Unitarian Universalist ministers upon the world? Is it a systemic desire to preserve the status of being a “real minister” to only UUA fellowshipped parish ministers?
I’m thinking the answer is yes… What do you think?
I do see the problem. We can’t slap seals on our ministers identifying them as fully seminary trained, ordained AND fellowshipped UUA certified ministers like the seals for fully organic products. We do need a way to differentiate roles and credentials across a continuum of forms of ministry and ministers.
Maybe that is why in this video the term “associate” is used. They ordaining this couple to serve in a capacity outside of the congregation. To move forward with giving more UUs permission to minister, to serve, we’d need to figure out how to handle the language. It is important to have clarity. But I don’t think we should let the lack of the language continue to limit our conception of ministry and ministers.
I know what many of you are thinking. “Peter, do you realize how sloppy it would be to have all sorts of ministers out there??!”
Yes, I do. But life is sloppy. And we need more Unitarian Universalists to serve and to serve outside of the traditional parish ministry role.
100% Grade UUA ministers
I think you who are fully seminary trained, ordained and fellowshipped UUA certified parish ministers are damaging your careers by supporting limited conceptions of ministry. You need people serving in alternative ministries if the congregations you serve are going to reach their full potential — the power of your personal ministry rests not in what you can do, but in what you can empower and support others to do. Right now there’s a cap on that.
- In the spirit of talking UU Blue Ocean Strategies, what would it look like if we removed that cap?
- What would the impact be of congregations giving official ministry credentials and titles to those who had the desire, calling and congregational support to lead alternative associated ministries?
- If this is a desirable direction to move in, what would need to happen in order to make it culturally acceptable within the Unitarian Universalist Association?
Transparency: I’ve come to know a growing number of amazing and dedicated UU’s who are pursuing alternative ministries, who have completed seminary, and are trying their best to serve Unitarian Universalism at large despite not receiving recognition and credentials as ministers. It’s been making me question whether the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee is really only suited to serve as a PARISH Ministerial Fellowship Committee. So, know that this post is inspired by a growing realization of what we’re missing by not empowering some amazing people to serve to their fullest. That’s at the core of the “What’s wrong with us?” question. ~ Peter