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The Art of Meeting

On Fridays, we are posting entries for a weekly blog journey by Angela Williams, our Young Adult Volunteer, of the day-to-day work to organize and create positive social change in her community. We invite you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

by Angela Williams

Meetings are a fact of life. Our schedules are full of them. Before this year, I had a few ideas and understandings of what meetings where and how they operated. They never start on time. They always go over time. You never get through the entire agenda in the time limit. Something will always come up that takes more than the budgeted time to flesh out, or someone will focus on a miniscule detail for far too long. I will be the first to admit that I have been the reason for every one of these unpleasantries in many meetings.

tsr_5246_webBefore working with NEXT Church and learning about organizing from Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), I thought that was the only possible way to meet. What I have learned, though, is that it is possible to bring a group of people together on the phone or around a table for a productive and relational conversation, covering every point on the agenda, creating space for questions, and ending on time. It takes a combination of planning ahead, moderation, and, perhaps most importantly, being in relationship.

As I have mentioned before, the foundation of community organizing is built upon relational meetings. When we sit face to face with another person, share a bit of our journey and listen to another’s, each of us opening up to vulnerability, it brings us into community with each other. We can better understand what the other brings to the table and what motivates that person to act, which allows us to empathize more in conversation. The solidarity of community that I feel in NEXT Church leadership meetings and at WIN action planning meetings are what fuel me to be better and to do more to create the world as it should be.

Each of us have likely experienced a meeting that became more of a social hour to catch up on life or an airing of grievances than a time to brainstorm to develop a plan of action. This is where the moderation and planning is key. When planning a meeting, organizing has taught me to ask key questions: What reaction do you want? What is the goal of this time together? What is something tangible you want to take away from this hour? When planning an action, you may want a set of next steps with people responsible for each part. When you need to create space for people to voice concerns, ask questions, share stories, or think about the bigger picture, perhaps a listening session is the better staging for a gathering. In any of these situations, it is still important to create time to build and foster relationships, which can be built into the agenda as a rounds question. At the most basic level, identifying names, locations, and organizations represented is helpful for every person to become more acquainted with others in the room. At a deeper level, folks can share where they are feeling stuck in their work, challenged by the world, or hopeful in their context, which will spur the conversation forward.

In any meeting setting, the moderator holds the important role of keeping the team on task, respecting all voices, and discerning when to allow a fruitful discussion to continue for the betterment of the group. Sometimes this means respectfully interrupting someone to refocus to the agenda. Other times, this means amending the agenda because someone raises a fundamental question the leaders had not considered, but it is one that deserves special thought and attention. By developing and distributing an agenda ahead of time and giving an overview at the beginning of the meeting, a moderator can prevent some of the tangents in the first place. From participating in, planning, and leading meetings with WIN and NEXT Church this year, I have come to believe that planning, moderation, and relational time make for the best meetings.

What are some of your best practices for leading meetings effectively?


AngelaWilliams270Angela Williams is currently walking alongside the good folks at NEXT Church and New York Avenue Presbyterian Church as a Young Adult Volunteer in Washington, D.C., after serving a first YAV year in the Philippines. She finds life in experiencing music, community organizing, cooking any recipe she can find, making friends on the street, and theological discussions that go off the beaten path.

NEXT U: Organizing the Congregation

safety net copyWelcome to NEXT University! During the month of August, we are highlighting our most popular posts and videos on the NEXT blog from the past few years, with suggestions for how to use this content with church sessions, committees, staff and other leaders. 

Today we look at four resources that discuss relational organizing within the congregation. Use these resources individually, or take them together for a deeper study with your leaders. Or make it a four-session series!

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Change Rooted in Relationships by Ashley Goff provides an introduction to relational work within the congregation and how it can transform old, “stuck” ministries. This article provides a thorough description of the 1-on-1 meeting, one of the backbones of relational organizing.

Questions for Conversation:

  • Ashley writes, I try to do relational meetings at least twice a month. I can feel it when my calendar runs low on these meetings. I feel more rooted in myself and my work when I am consistent with this discipline of organizing. When I do a 1-on-1 with someone new at Pilgrims the congregation feels even more alive. When I do a 1-on-1 with someone who has been at Pilgrims for 30 years, I cherish their story and commitment to this place with more fervor. What is your response? Even if you do not do relational meetings, have you experienced this “rootedness” when you spend more time with people in your community?
  • Ashley talks about what these meetings are not: an overly-intellectual “head trip,” a “hot seat,” a thinly-veiled excuse to shoehorn someone into an existing ministry. Do an honest self-assessment of your congregation’s culture. Where is the room for growth in building a relational spirit?
  • What would it look like for the session (or staff, or ministry team) to incorporate more 1-on-1 gatherings into its work? What kinds of attitudes or activities would need to shift or be set aside? Challenge yourselves to spend a season focusing on this to see what happens.

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Building in Relationality by Karen Sapio fleshes out the potential for relational work in the congregation and shares her congregation’s experience in beginning this work.

  • Karen writes, For the first few years [I was here] I assumed that I was the newcomer and that everyone else in the congregation knew each other.  The longer I was there, however, the more I learned that this was not the case.  There were some in the church that had long-standing friendships, but those were the exception.  Many felt that they had a strong connection to only a few other members of the church, or only to one of the pastors.  When we held a listening campaign during Lent 2013, the biggest thing we heard was “We really don’t know each other very well.” How does this assessment connect with you. Where are your places of relational strength? Where are the challenges?
  • Karen lists several suggestions for incorporating relational elements into the congregation’s life. Have you tried these or similar approaches? What has been the fruit of these practices? If you have not, why not start now? (And share your experience and learning with NEXT!)

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Congregational Power Analysis by Rebecca Messman is a meditation in the word “power” and how we understand it in the church. Rebecca then describes the practice of “power analysis” within the congregation to identify strengths, resources and energy. (This article is part 3 of today’s course because you cannot do an effective power analysis without laying the relational groundwork first.)

Questions for Conversation:

  • What positive and negative associations do you have with the word power? Does the term seem positive, neutral, negative or a combination?
  • Becca writes, Power is defined in community organizing simply as the ability to act on one’s values, from the Latin word poder, which means “to be able.” Power in organizing is not coercive power but relational power, the engine of relationships that are at work inside and outside of a congregation. What’s your response to this definition? How do you understand your congregation as an organization that wields power? (Or doesn’t.)
  • Becca writes, It is easy to talk about justice, making an impact, loving our neighbor, speaking truth to power, and feeding the multitudes, but a power analysis forces the questions, “How?” “Who would do that?” “What impact are we hoping to make?” Power analysis helps a congregation get from the theoretical to the practical. Many congregations get stuck in “should” thinking yet feel unable to move forward in practice. How might an analysis of your leadership, its gifts, and its sense of power move your congregation forward? How might you implement such an analysis?

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Bonus Resource: In this video, Patrick Daymond talks about the power of relational (one-to-one) meetings as the building block of community and community change. Watch the video with your leaders and consider: what resonates with your experience? Which ideas intrigue you to lean in further to the practice of relational work? Which ideas sit less comfortably? Explore these sources of energy and tension with your group.

Building in Relationality

By Karen Sapio

safety net copyI’ll admit — when my congregation first began to be involved in broad based organizing, I was intrigued by it only partly because I saw its potential to make our community activism more effective.  I was equally–and perhaps more–attracted by its potential to help rebuild relational capital within our congregation.

I arrived as pastor of Claremont Presbyterian Church in 2006.  For the first few years I assumed that I was the newcomer and that everyone else in the congregation knew each other.  The longer I was there, however, the more I learned that this was not the case.  There were some in the church that had long-standing friendships, but those were the exception.  Many felt that they had a strong connection to only a few other members of the church, or only to one of the pastors.  When we held a listening campaign during Lent 2013, the biggest thing we heard was “We really don’t know each other very well.”

This disconnectedness can impact ministry in so many ways:

  • good ideas don’t gain traction because the person with the good idea doesn’t know who else might be interested;
  • those who volunteer to lead teams or chair committees turn to the Pastors to recruit other team members because they don’t know others well enough to invite them directly;
  • folks make decisions about coming to worship based on whether they “like” what’s on the program for that Sunday rather than upon relationships with friends with whom they long to gather after a week apart;
  • invitations for playdates among children aren’t extended because the parents aren’t one hundred percent which kids belong to who.
  • And it impacts wider activism as well: people who are not having sustained conversations rarely discover common cause.

We certainly haven’t solved this problem yet, but I think we are making progress.  We haven’t done this by adding another layer of programs to help us get to know each other– that sounded like a burden to everyone’s over-scheduled lives.  Instead, little by little, we are trying to build relationality into things we are already doing.

A few examples:

  • Instead of the Pastor offering a generic opening prayer at the beginning of a meeting, we asked people to break into groups of three and share any burdens that might keep them from attending to the work that was before us.  This was followed by a bidding prayer in which those concerns could be lifted up by anyone in the group.
  • When the Session met with potential new members, instead of our former practice of having each one give a brief introduction to the whole Session, we broke into several groups and asked each person in the group–new members and Session members– to give a five minute “snap shot” of their faith journey.
  • Both pastors have preached at least one sermon recently in which they asked a question and invited those gathered to turn to those close to them and share possible responses to that question for a few minutes before the sermon resumes.  We’ve also begun to invite more testimony into worship through interviews and storytelling.

None of these are wildly creative, but this slow cultivation of relationships does seem to be bearing fruit among us.  We are trying to discipline ourselves as leaders to seek opportunities to make small shifts toward relationship building in everything we do.

Jesus found his earliest disciples when they were at work mending their nets.  We like to think that we too are mending and re-weaving a network of relationships that will lead to stronger ministry.

SapioKaren Sapio is the Pastor of Claremont Presbyterian Church and a member of the NEXT Church Strategy Team.

Why Congregations are Stuck

By MaryAnn McKibben Dana

We can do itI had an “aha” this weekend about why many of our congregations seem so stuck.

I attended a “Building and Empowering Communities” leadership training sponsored by VOICE, a group of congregations and institutions in northern Virginia that are doing community organizing around issues of affordable housing, immigration, and other issues.

The tools of community organizing are not just for engagement in the wider community; they are also helpful within the congregation, as you seek out leaders and discern a vision.

The crux of the training centered on the one-on-one “relational” meeting, in which you try to identify potential leaders through getting to know people and learning their stories—their histories, their passions, and what “keeps them up at night.”

To give us a taste of this, each presenter offered a bit of personal history before launching into his/her topic, and it was easy to connect the dots between the person’s past experiences and his or her life’s work. One person’s aunt and uncle was the victim of a predatory loan. Another saw her single working mother face discrimination and sexism and was driven to empower herself and other women in her community as a result. You get the idea.

Then we practiced one-on-one meetings, and I was struck with how many stories (mine included) were some variation of “I had a pretty comfortable life… and now I just want to give back and make the world a better place.”

Now, admittedly, many of us were brand new at this relational meeting stuff. The organizers who trained us (and whose dots were so easy to connect) have been telling their stories for a long time. And granted, it was an artificial exercise, taking place in a fishbowl, and we could only go 8-10 minutes long instead of the 30-40 minutes that is suggested.

But these rather bland, generic responses revealed to me how we find leaders and volunteers in the church, and how we talk about service. And how it’s killing us.

Here are three realizations I had:

1. We do discernment primarily around gifts rather than stories. We need to stop doing that.

Whether we’re the nominating committee trying to put forth a slate of officers, or a youth director trying to find confirmation sponsors, we think predominantly about a person’s skills and gifts. “This person is a teacher, so I bet he’d be a great Christian Education elder.” “She’s chief operating officer of her company; maybe she’d serve on the stewardship team.”

It’s not that gifts are unimportant. After all, spiritual gifts language has been with us from the very beginning. But one of the tenets of community organizing is that good leaders are made, not born. As a pastor, I can teach skills. But I cannot teach passion. Getting in touch with a person’s history allows you to find those deep hungers that will motivate and drive them even when the going gets tough. No wonder so many of our congregations are boring and lethargic—we’ve been talking about the wrong things!

2. We need to get way more concrete in our language about service.

“I want to help people because Jesus tells us to love our neighbor” doesn’t get us anywhere. Yet it’s our default response when people ask us what drives us. The content of a relational meeting is why andhow. “Why do you want to help people? Why does that matter to you? How have you seen that impulse lived out? How do you see that not being lived out in your community?”

Just as we’ve relied on gifts as the primary mode of discernment, we have not taken the time to drill down past our surface responses about service. Many of the overworked pastors there (myself included) were searching for shortcuts—Can’t you do this work in group settings? Does it have to be one on one? What do you suppose the response was?

3. Anger is not the enemy. It is a resource. 

Maybe you’re one of those who had a genuinely untroubled childhood. You didn’t see your aunt and uncle’s devastation at almost losing their home because of that predatory loan. But I bet there is an injustice that makes you furious. We don’t like to talk about anger, especially in the Church of Nice that so many of us belong to. Anger is bad, we tell ourselves—something to suppress. But anger, properly contextualized, is also energy. Anger is fuel for action. And there is plenty of holy anger in scripture. One of my favorite benedictions has the line, “May God bless you with anger—at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so you will work for justice, freedom and peace.”

There are plenty of injustices in the world that I worry about. But when I look back on my personal history, the key issue for me has been women and girls, again and again. The specifics of that have played out in different ways over the years, and the pivotal events that sparked that anger are for another post. But yeah. Women and girls.

My favorite quote these days is this one by Howard Thurman:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

But how do we know what makes people come alive unless we ask them?

mamdMaryAnn McKibben Dana is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church and and author of Sabbath in the Suburbs. She is a Co-Chair of the NEXT Church Strategy Team. This post was originally posted to her blog The Blue Room in June 2013.

photo credit: DonkeyHotey via photopin cc

Change Rooted in Relationships

By Ashley Goff

children_youth_1Why do the same people do everything around here? Why do I feel burned out? Where are all the new people? Where can we find people to do all this work? Who can we get someone to fill “x” position?

I heard these questions a lot when I arrived on the scene at Church of the Pilgrims in 1999.

We were living in a “this-is-sucking-the-life-out-of-us-culture.” People were compartmentalized into committees, with tasks and identities cementing them into an endless cycle of administrative anxiety rather than relationships and community building.

Pilgrims became aware of this dynamic, acted upon this realization, and in a prophetic sweep blew apart the committee structure to make way for a more fluid, open, organic way that was grounded in process rather than mind-numbing bureaucracy.

When Jeff Krehbiel arrived, he introduced community organizing and the foundational organizing tool—the relational meeting.

Over time, with our process-oriented structure, we’ve shifted into a “culture of possibility” with the relational, 1-on-1 meetings.

What is a 1-on-1 meeting?

  • A 30-60 minute meeting of face-to-face conversation with another person
  • A conversation about what the person’s passions, hopes, and dreams.
  • An opportunity to go outside the bounds of traditional congregational meetings that usually have an “ask” at the end.
  • A way of creating space for new ideas and possibilities.
  • A way of identifying new leaders with the ability to create change.

A 1-on-1 meeting is not:

  • A chance to find someone to fit into long-standing tasks and preconceived agenda.
  • Therapy or pastoral counseling.
  • An intellectual conversation about politics and head-trippin’ theology.
  • An interview of non-stop questions and putting someone in the “hot seat.”

What Happens During a 1-on-1 meeting?

  • “Why” is woven throughout the conversation.
  • The person who initiated the 1-on-1 structures the beginning and end. The middle part is improvisation based on the story of the particular person.
  • Risks are taken to go deeper into one or two things about the person’s story, especially when the person says something like, “I thought about being a physicist but became a personal chef.” Huh. I wonder what that transition is about.
  • Have a conversation! Share about yourself in the back-and-forth.
  • Close by asking who else you should meet with.

Organizing in the Flesh:

When do I experience organizing in the flesh? What difference do these meetings make? What does a “culture of possibility” look like at Pilgrims?

I try to do relational meetings at least twice a month. I can feel it when my calendar runs low on these meetings. I feel more rooted in myself and my work when I am consistent with this discipline of organizing. When I do a 1-on-1 with someone new at Pilgrims the congregation feels even more alive. When I do a 1-on-1 with someone who has been at Pilgrims for 30 years, I cherish their story and commitment to this place with more fervor.

Several weeks ago, Hannah Webster, our Elder for Hospitality and Evangelism, led a meeting to organize for the annual Capital LBGTQ Pride parade in June. Neither I nor Jeff was at the meeting. I ran into Hannah at the conclusion of her gathering and asked how it went.

Hannah’s reply, “great, we are going to make our festival booth more “like us” this year. Meaning, they want our booth at the Pride Festival to be more participatory and experiential. That means handing out essential oils made from honey and herb from Pilgrims urban garden and getting a photo booth.

Eight people showed up to this meeting because Hannah had done the relational work. Long-time members, new members and non-members were at the meeting. Hannah led the meeting, allowing space for free flowing ideas to erupt. Hannah didn’t control the meeting. She let the relationships in the meeting drive the vision for Pride. The group realized our booth needed to fit into our “culture of possibility” with participatory, relational experiences.

Change is happening all the time in our permission-giving space from creativity in worship, how we run meetings, who leads the meetings, and how new ideas are embraced and rise-up. Leaders at Pilgrims are cultivated through passion and interests, rather than inserting folks into long-standing, nostalgia based “to-do” lists and “this is what we’ve always done” repetitious activity.

We know names and stories. We know how to make our culture intentional. We appreciate each other and know that we are in this Jesus movement together. We take risks. We trust each other. We know we have something to offer to those who walk through our door—it’s a Story of transformation and change rooted in relationships.

worship3Ashley Goff is Associate Pastor at Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, DC. She blogs at God of the Sparrow.

Sustainable Action: Planting the Seeds of Relational Organizing

This month, we’re curating a conversation around congregationally based community organizing. Many of us in NEXT Church leadership have found the disciplines of community organizing to be helpful as we engage in ministry, work toward glimpses of God’s kingdom in our communities, and shape our congregations. Have ideas or reflections to share? Offer your thoughts in comments, on our Facebook page, or contact us here. If you like what you read, subscribe to our blog (enter your email on the right sidebar) and receive an email when there is a new blog article. To see all that has been written on this topic, go to the blog main page.

By Louise Green

seedsWe owe it to our congregants and colleagues in social justice action to create a culture in the church or organization that is dynamic, life-giving, and fulfilling for all participants. Voluntary groups are an elective choice that people make in order to add something positive to their lives. Many people eventually elect out as they become tired and de-energized working in repetitive ways. This article is about another approach to organizational life, a way that seeks to find new leadership and encourage new campaigns: relational organizing.

Relational organizing is working with and beyond the bureaucratic culture of a congregation or organization. The word “bureaucracy” comes from the idea of a chest of drawers, where everybody has a proper compartment and place. This kind of organization is necessary in a large group or gathered body, but often works against close relationships between people. Very often, there is little communication between or within the drawers and no change in the overall structure for very long periods of time.

Organizing relationally does not preclude the standard mechanisms we need to function in large groups–rather, it adds a dimension that can transform the culture of bureaucracy. Instead of a bureaucratic culture dominated by fixed activities that endlessly repeat, a relational culture is flexible, dynamic, and responsive to growing or changing needs. It shifts over time, and does not burn people out. It is life-giving, not draining.

In most congregations and organizations, static bureaucracy reigns. We are so accustomed to group meetings, collective agendas, and task-oriented activities that it is easy to perpetuate a system that creates only very minimal relationships between people. Communication happens via worship bulletins, newsletters, email, and rarely phone calls, and we even more rarely meet with someone individually unless we have a job to do or crisis to address. Talented leaders are recruited for many tasks, and attend multiple group meetings until they risk burnout and loss of interest. Congregants may meet for months or even years, and never have a conversation about anything but what is on the agenda page for their committee night.

How can congregations and organizations break out of this constraining, de-energizing, and often depressing situation? The solution is to create a culture of relationships that is served by the bureaucratic apparatus rather than dominated by it.

The primary tool of relational organizing is the individual meeting, an encounter with a person that is rare in our culture. Individual, or 1-to-1, meetings are critical to create bonds between existing teams, find new talent, identify new issues, or develop a new constituency. There is no short-cut around them, and they produce results that nothing else can. Very simply, doing individual meetings is the strategy that is essential in order to create a relational culture over time.

What are the hazards of operating in a bureaucracy that has no relationship-building initiative? The same people do the same things in an unexamined way. New talent and energy is not discovered or engaged. Group meetings get certain tasks done, but only use the skills of folks which apply to the set agenda. Leaders and followers grow fatigued over time and echo the perennial complaint heard in almost every congregation and organization: why do the same people do everything around here?

What is a 1-to-1 meeting?

  • A 30-45 minute meeting of face-to-face conversation with one person.
  • Getting to know the other person and being known
  • An inquiry into what matters to a person and why.
  • A chance to go outside of the repeating tasks and small group activities that dominate congregational and organizational life.
  • An opportunity to know the private motivations each person has for doing public action such as congregational volunteerism or social justice work.
  • A search for leaders and participants with the talent, motivation, initiative, energy, or anger to change a situation.
  • A way to identify issues that need to be addressed and are not on the current action plan.

What is not an individual meeting for relational organizing purposes?

  • An interview of non-stop questions or survey.
  • Going through the whole life story or resume of an individual.
  • A recruitment device that fits someone into a set agenda or committee.
  • An intellectual conversation about policy or strategy on issues in the congregation, neighborhood or city.
  • Search for personal friendship or a social encounter.

What do you need to do individual meetings?

  • A firm decision that you will make the time to engage in this important leadership task.       You must invest time and energy for this to succeed. Commit.
  • A clear context for your introduction on the phone and in person, and a reason for doing this that you can explain to others simply.
  • Regular phone call time set aside to ask for and schedule meetings.
  • Patience and persistence to work with people’s availability and possible resistance.
  • Curiosity about other people and an ability to listen.
  • Willingness to practice this skill over and over again, in multiple settings.

How do you do an individual meeting?

  • Have a clear introduction and ending: the middle is improvisation that is particular to the person with whom you are talking.
  • Talk more deeply about a few things instead of covering 20 topics.
  • Ask “why?” much more often than “what?”
  • Ask the person to tell stories and personal history, talk about important incidents, time periods, or mentors—not just recite facts and dates.
  • Offer back conversation and dialogue: it’s not just for the purpose of the other person answering your questions.
  • Close by asking the person who else they think you should be meeting with, and what questions they have for you. 

How do you use individual meetings?

When you decide to do an individual meeting campaign, it is important to establish a context: Are you the only one doing meetings, and for what reason (i.e. committee chair, task force/study leader, leading on developing a new project)? Is a team going to agree to do them with a particular list (i.e. new members, youth, seniors, religious education teachers)? Is staff preparing to do them with a certain constituency (i.e. people of color in the congregation, young adults, worship leaders)?

Keep track of each meeting by making notes on each individual, deciding ahead of time what kinds of things you want to remember. Just write down important items, not everything you heard. However, don’t ever take notes while you are having the meeting itself: this makes you a survey-taker or interviewer, which is not the right purpose or tone for the conversation.

Create a process for evaluating what you learn once you have a significant number accumulated. This may be your individual work, or involve a meeting with the team that is working on the campaign. It’s important to go into the meetings with an open mind: you can test for certain interests or issues, but if you have one specific purpose in mind (need to recruit teachers, for example) you won’t be finding out what you need to know. Your goal is to ask questions and listen, without fitting the person into any fixed spot. Individual meetings are an exchange about what is important to each of you, not a session where you work to get the person to do something.

After you have met your goal for a certain number of meetings, either individually or as part of a team, evaluate what you learned. This may lead to various choices:

  • additional individual meetings with new people,
  • some kind of different group action,
  • second meetings with especially interesting or strong leaders,
  • a new project or event,
  • revising how you have been operating based on what you heard,
  • ask people to take some sort of new initiative based on what you discovered about them.

The entire process is improvised, and created out of what you actually hear and how you and others decide to respond. You can’t plan this response until you have a number of individual meetings. You must be open to what emerges, and dance accordingly.

What are the benefits of building a relational culture of organizing?

  • Leaders who come to know each other beyond a task-oriented agenda and can do new things in new ways.
  • New people who can be engaged around their own interests, not an existing plan.
  • The capability to do a new project or campaign based on people’s real energy and motivation, not an annual or monthly repetition of activity.
  • A network of people who know and trust each other, able to take action in a variety of ways over time.
  • A stronger, more dynamic, more creative congregational or organizational life.

When we inadvertently create perpetual bureaucracy instead of letting our structures serve a greater goal of relationship, when we are not deeply committed to innovation and dynamism in our congregations and organizations, we are not affirming the inherent leadership potential in each person. We limit the many rich ways that talent can flourish and congregations thrive.

Building a relational organizing culture over time is the best way to build our congregational strength, our leaders’ potential, and our full participation in all the possibilities of life. May we have the courage and the wisdom to explore all the great and varied talent within the congregation, organization, and our gifts as people.

Louise GreenLouise Green is currently serving River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD as Minister of Congregational Life. She has been on staff at four UCC and UU churches, and also worked as an organizer for Metro IAF for ten years in New York City. The ideas here come from her IAF experience and training, particularly through Michael Gecan, National Staff for the Metro IAF in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.  For an in-depth look at this method of community organizing, read Gecan’s Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action, published by Anchor Press.

 

photo credit: Pictoscribe via photopin cc