Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wow - ambitious leadership from the Executive Committee

I just received this message on Uni News (which anyone can subscribe to, by the way) with a very strong message from the national Executive Committee of the Unitarian General Assembly:

The Executive Committee, having considered the responses of the “Difficult Choices” consultation with the wider Unitarian Movement, agreed the following strategic priorities for the work of the General Assembly. These strategic priorities set the framework for a range of innovative activities to be implemented over the next three years which will require change in many areas of our work as we focus on what makes a difference at congregational level. These are currently in development and further information will be circulated when the plans are finalised.

General Assembly Strategic Priorities
Our Goal: Sustainable and thriving Unitarian and Free Christian communities.
Our Aims: To benefit our communities by:
• encouraging and supporting leadership at local level
• developing Ministry within the denomination
• raising the visibility of the Unitarian movement
• improving the services to the movement provided by staff and volunteers
Our Objective: over the next five years is to become a thriving and increasingly visible liberal religious community throughout Great Britain.
• We will increase our membership by 20%
• We will increase the number of qualified and active Ministers to at least fifty
• We will ensure that all Unitarian congregations can have access to professional Ministerial or recognised lay leadership and support
• We will ensure that all volunteers have access to training and support

This is the most ambitious thing the Executive Committee has ever come out with. It's really good to set actual testable goals, and I've been asking them to do this for a while. The next question of course is how do you actually get 50 active ministers and 20% growth? What are the actions that try to achieve these objectives? These are good questions to ask.


Anonymous Daniel Costley said...

Real vision, measurable and appropriate objectives. An aim to benefit all in the movement, not just a niche group. This is such good news.

You are right Stephen that there are further questions to be answered. The roadmap to 2015 will be challenging and frustrating, and there will be too many who claim 'we've tried before and it didn't work'. I suspect there are a number of paths we can and should follow - one size will not fit all. But for the sake of our present and future communities, we should pull together to help the movement meet these aims.

10:36 pm  
Anonymous Angela @ said...

It is wrong to be pessimistic, but I think the 20% growth will not be achieved. The 50 ministers would mean another 10 paid for vacancies opening up. Candidates are less of a problem as we can import them if we need to.

I'm not sure how committed we really are to growth outside congregations that are already growing. Perhaps I'm just tired already.

11:06 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

20% is very ambitious. It's certainly something we would intend to achieve in my congregation, though. Which is only average attendance going from 31 to 37 and membership going from 55 to to 66. I would hope that would be achievable. But we are a reasonably sized congregation with a full time minister and lots of able people and a good attitude.

But to average 20% over all congregations, including dozens of congregations with less than 20 members and no money, and no leadership. That is pretty difficult.

9:46 am  
Blogger Andrew Bethune said...

I entirely agree with the aim of increasing our visibility. This can only be done by having somthing going on in our churches that people outside want to hear about and join in with. We all have to ask ourselves: how can we do that for our local congregation?

Leadership doesn't have to mean ministers. I hope that 'developing ministry' means enabling the 'ordinary' members to participate in ministry. Sometimes I think that ministers have de-skilled their congregations.

4:01 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

"Leadership" doesn't, and shouldn't mean just Ministers. However "Ministry" in this context I think does. If Ministers have de-skilled their congregations, that's the exact opposite of what they should be doing.

12:06 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

I'm a bit confused my the Minsiters' one now. I've just counted 52 qualified, non-retired Ministers currently residing in Great Britain. That includes about 5 who do not currently have a ministry, but as they are still on the Roll, they theoretically could. I'm not entirely sure what they are counting.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Yewtree said...

Hi all, I have asked Derek to expand on how he thinks the new objectives can be achieved in his article for the November issue of The Unitarian. Letters & articles are welcome in response.

In my view, one way to achieve growth is by every Unitarian explaining Unitarianism to all their friends (and on the internet if able to do so) in the hope that one of them might be interested in joining.

But the churches that the new people turn up to must be spiritual, connected, vibrant, and serving people's needs. (NB I am not talking about consumer spirituality.)

4:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


One word.

7:01 pm  

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