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2013 Prework - Seminar 2
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2. Reaching (and Doing) More by Being Less: Taking Theme-Based Ministry and Member Integration to the Next (Simpler) Level
     - Scott Tayler

There was a time when we assumed that "bigger menus” equaled greater impact, that more options meant reaching more people. Turns out it just leads to member confusion and minister burn-out. So, are there ways to both simplify our small group programming and make it more compelling at the same time? Can our small group programs provide ministers with ideas and material rather than requiring them to generate even more of it? This seminar answers with a resounding, "Yes!” Together we will look at a number of theme-based ministry models that allow us to do more with less; and then we will tweak those models to fit our own settings.

Scott Tayler is the Co-Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY. He and his staff team have developed a small group system that engages over half of their 1000 members and at the same time cut his work-time in half, allowing him twice as much time to ski the snowy slopes of upstate New York!


 In Preparation for this Seminar:

Please read this short packet before the seminar.

As mentioned in the workshop description, we will explore a variety of models and strategies that have the potential to make our work both more impactful for those we serve and less exhausting for us.   We will take a comprehensive approach, inviting us to explore our church systems from the most abstract level(i.e. mission and vision) to the most detailed and practical (i.e. small groups and job descriptions).  So in addition to going over the pre-read packet ahead of time, it will also be helpful if you can bring some material from your home congregation. Here’s a list of the items I’d like you to bring with you if you have them: 

  • church mission (and vision/ values) statement
  • committee or key ministry team descriptions
  • covenant group (central small group program) brochures or descriptions
  • one or two examples of the curriculum you use for your covenant groups (i.e central small group program)
  • UU101 or New Member Orientation Class curriculum
  • list of annual committee/ministry team goals
  • list of monthly worship themes, if you use them

Having these documents with us will allow us to more easily think about how we might adapt our own organizational systems and to more concretely share examples of what we are doing.  You do not need to bring extra copies of the material since we will be working in small circles and can directly show the examples to those in our small groups.


Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
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