In 2008 the CENTER Committee surveyed colleagues to explore what information and resources would be most helpful to them in carrying out their ministries. Over 500 responses were received and one area in particular caught CENTER’s attention: Congregational and Ministerial Feedback/Assessment.
As the continuing education arm of the UUMA, we know that the vast majority of Unitarian Universalist clergy understand that practicing professional ministry is constantly teaching us– about ourselves and the work we endeavor to do. We know good feedback is essential to our development, and most of us have made excellent use of feedback we’ve received from our seminary experience, our colleagues and from looking at our own successes and mistakes. Yet beyond the Ministerial Fellowship’s Assessment model for minister’s seeking final fellowship, we have precious few models designed to help us gather information from the very people who could help us the most: the members of our congregations.
We also heard from many ministers who had regrettably been involved with assessment tools that were not helpful - or even worse, destructive – introduced by those in congregations with agendas other than providing helpful feedback.
The UUMA’s CENTER committee hopes that this resource collection can be a place where ministers can turn for a variety of models for obtaining useful feedback. These models can be helpful tools in beginning conversations with Committees on Ministry to create collaborative approaches to gather feedback that points to observed patterns, affirms strengths and encourages continual growth – both for the minister and the ministry of the whole congregations.
These models can be used as they are or they can be adapted, combined, or serve as a springboard for entirely new models. Just as we all benefit from the work of the many people who helped research, test, develop and employ these approaches, so we hope you will share your progress as you create a conversation between these models, your experience and your congregation’s unique process. Please send your findings or comments to the CENTER Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for continuing to develop our shared quest for strong ministries.