Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

LAY LEADERSHIP: Expectations & Appreciation: Leading and Listening Together

April’s UNIGRAM newsletter listed nominees for election to various leadership groups at the church.  Congratulations to the Nominating Committee!  Congrats to the nominees, and thank you for agreeing to serve.

After election at the May 22 Congregational Meeting, these folks will join teams consisting of newer and long-term members, bringing a mix of experience, new ideas, enthusiasm, creativity, imagination—and the ability to listen.

I want to offer my own expectations of lay leadership and of ourselves as we support lay leaders.  This is based on 15 years of ministry and 25 as a UU.

Leaders are involved and present in church life.  This includes Sunday services and coffee hour and other times of fellowship and work.  That’s because listening and reflecting together can be done only if we are present with one another.  “Taking the pulse” of a community is a hands-on activity.

Leaders strive to assume good will on the part of everyone, until behaviors reveal harmful effects or intentions.  Leaders gain insight when they take a “systems” perspective of things that are going on—remembering our church history, recognizing its culture, and knowing when we must challenge that culture.

Leaders appreciate that not everybody is a long-timer, or knows how things happen around here.  People are busy and do not notice every Blue Sheet article or email blurb.  We all need clear and frequent communication, and reminders.  And forgiveness when we forget.

Leaders work for “The Good of the Whole”—that is, the health of the whole community, the quality and effectiveness of its programs and activities, and the helpfulness of its policies, rules, and practices.   How will a decision bring us toward our mission and goals?

Here are my expectations for the rest of us:  Assume good intentions on the part of our lay leaders.  Thank them for their service.  They are giving UUSS… many volunteer hours, attention, active listening, openness to questions and suggestions, creativity, and risk-taking.

Read the newsletter, Blues Sheet, Weekly Email, as often as we can.  Come to church.  Hang around.  Give generously to the programs and outreach of the congregation.  Get connected.  And, think about how you might give back some time in support of UUSS.

Yours in service,


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