By Alaine Davis
WUUC is reorganizing what we do in a new “ministries” format. Many people are doing great things at our church, but as we grow we need to get better at connecting to other people doing related work. Here’s a brief overview of how we’re trying to find ways to work together under the three new ministries.
Why Mess with Success?
That is the sort of question that is its own answer: because things have been going well, we are growing, and need new systems to keep the work of WUUC moving smoothly. We want to make sure we retain the identity and community we love even as we move from a “pastoral-sized church” (about 50-150 members) to a “program-sized church” (about 150-350 members). This requires some reorganization and rethinking about how we do what we do.
The Umbrellas of Ministry
The new structure involves two fundamental changes. The first is that each committee or church-sponsored activity falls under one of three “ministry umbrellas.” It helps me to think of a ministry as referring simply to a broad area of work done by the church. Anything that benefits our members or the church as a whole can be considered a ministry. Each of these ministry umbrellas covers a group of activities that relate to each other and are likely to benefit from communicating. For example, I am the Ministry Lead for the Community & Engagement Ministry, which includes the Hospitality, Cares & Concerns, Membership, and Volunteer Engagement & Nominating Committees as well as social activities like potlucks, circle suppers, the nonfiction book discussion group, and the Buddhist meditation group. Anything involving community building is going to fall under my umbrella.
Jan Radoslovich is the Ministry Lead for the Transformation and Action Ministry, which has to do with activities intended to change the ways we look at the world and address our spiritual needs. This umbrella covers Religious Education and Lifelong Learning, Advocates for Social Justice, Worship, Music, and more. David Simons is the Ministry Lead for the Sustainability Ministry, which I think of as relating to the nuts and bolts of having a church—what needs to be happening (often behind the scenes and underappreciated) to make sure our church is safe, warm, financially stable, and connected to the internet! This includes committees like Buildings and Grounds, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Stewardship.
Each ministry group sends their chair, or another representative, to a monthly or bimonthly meeting. For the Community & Engagement Ministry, for example, we meet in person every other month and report out electronically during the off months. I act as an intermediary, taking news from my ministry area to share with the Leads of Sustainability and Transformation & Action as well as members of the Board. I also communicate important information in the other direction, letting the chairs of “my” committees know what’s going on elsewhere in the church. We are also planning to have the occasional meeting with all the committee chairs together, like the old Leadership Council used to, to make sure our ministries don’t become too insular.
Getting Involved: Your Way
The second change related to our new organizational structure has to do with how we help church members and friends find ways to be involved that energize them and help them grow. Many people don’t feel like they have time to take on a lot of responsibility, may not be interested in joining a committee, or might just want to test the waters as they get to know WUUC. We are encouraging committees to consider which of their group’s work could be accomplished by short-term task teams, ideally with some newer people and some experienced church members working together to accomplish a well-defined job over a fairly short period of time.
For example, a small group researched the feasibility of WUUC buying solar panels, canvassed for funds, and is following up with the purchase and installation of the panels on the church roof. The goal is to give more people a greater variety of ways to be involved without requiring a level of commitment everyone may not be comfortable with. Everyone should be able to feel like they can contribute, in ways both large and small. I know that I have found these opportunities to be one of the most valuable aspects of being part of our church, and have gotten much more out of these experiences than I ever anticipated.
Talk to Us!
As WUUC moves forward with the new ministries structure, we know there will be some bumps and challenges. We are all trying to figure out our new roles and lines of communication. Please contact any of the ministry leads (myself, David Simons, and Jan Radoslovich) or a member of the Board of Trustees with your feedback. To quote the UUA publication on size transitions, “Change is inevitable; misery is optional.” Let’s move forward with joy and hopefulness, preparing for WUUC’s future in a positive way.