From a recent blog posting in Growing Unitarian Universalism, “What if membership was a spectrum?…in reality, people interact with faith communities in dozens of different ways beyond the traditional notion of membership, often deepening and stepping back over the course of their lives. If we truly believe that everyone in our faith movement matters, whether they are official members or not, it is clear we need to re-conceive what it means to be connected to Unitarian Universalism.” The article goes on to describe a spectrum of engagement that a person might have with our faith, from curious individual – someone who is aware of Unitarian Universalism but not involved – to integrated leader – someone who is taking on leadership and helping to shape our community – with several phases in between. The question we might then ask is “how do we engage people across the spectrum from the moment they come through our doors and before?”
In October, the Membership and Leadership Development teams and guests met to discuss this question and its implications. In the end, we have decided to transform these two separate efforts into a unified team to focus on deepening faith relationships in our First U community and ultimately “growing leaders that change the world.” Our new team, Member Engagement and Development, will be co-led by Nancy Pinson and Suzanne Perry. Our goal is still to grow our membership, as reflected in our name; there’s something powerful about the commitment we make when we sign our names. At the same time, we recognize that there are many among us who share our values who may not sign a membership book for a variety of personal reasons. Even today we have around 50 people who are closely connected to First U through their participation and financial support who are not official members and they are important to us and our faith. We are not alone; “Demographic research shows that people are less likely to attend traditional worship services of any denomination, even if they consider themselves religious.” For more on this, read about the UUA’s Congregations and Beyond initiative introduced by Rev. Peter Morales, President of the UUA.
It’s an exciting time. We have many opportunities for you in this ministry. Let us know how you want to be included.
Nancy Pinson and Suzanne Perry
Member Engagement and Development