A church without a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish might be compared to a group of people taking a journey without knowing where they are going. We enjoy the time and travel together for a while, at least until one of us wants to go a different direction and then we are stuck in a struggle to decide the best route to take when we don’t even have a destination in mind. When a church operates with a clear sense of purpose and forward momentum, then every new thing that is introduced–every class, new group, justice action–can be measured against the shared understanding of who and what we want to be as a church. We have a lens for evaluating our actions as a congregation and are better poised to have an impact in our community.
I think of it as laying out an travel plan with an ending point in mind. If I know I want to go to California, what are all the routes and travel methods I could take to get there. Car, plane, bus, train, bicycle, backpacking? Which route is calling me – the back roads that wind through countryside, along streams, over mountains, or the flat highways where I can sail at a quick pace toward my destination? Do I want to let someone else take the lead and be the driver, or do I want to have more control over my journey? Do I want to go to a particular city, or just the state? One thing is certain, if I don’t have some sort of plan, I probably won’t get where I want to go and may spend time going in circles and retracing my steps trying to find my way. I’ll get sidetracked by the bumps and detours and shiny objects that are on the side of the road. And if my itinerary has no detail, or specific steps to take, I may end up in San Jose when I want to go to San Francisco. I won’t be able to tell new travelling companions gathered along the way where we are headed or why.
This coming Saturday people at Woodinville UU Church are invited to join in conversations about what the future holds for us as a congregation, where to focus our energy and how to support growth. The work of Unitarian Universalism isn’t done by one person or even two people in a congregation, but is something that requires all of us to come together to help the church thrive. Congregational polity means that as a church we choose how we govern, set our own vision and mission and determine how we will be a living expression of Unitarian Universalism within our walls and in our community. There is no higher body to hand down our marching orders, and while we may not all agree on the where we might focus our attention, engaging in the conversations will help staff and congregants move forward in ways that only increase our ability as a congregation to do meaningful work, rather than spinning our wheels.
As a living tradition, Unitarian Universalism is always changing and remaking itself into a faith that fits the times. It is a privilege to be part of an organization that wants you to help shape the future. Now is the time to join the conversation.