7 Ways we make it hard to join UU congregations

Friends, this is the recording of my Facebook Live session from Thursday, September 13th. I discuss ways we often MAKE IT HARD TO JOIN OUR CONGREGATIONS. Many UU congregation are hard to join not from a policy perspective, but due to a range of barriers we create. I cover 8 barriers in this video, 7 plus a whopper of a +1 bonus barrier.

IN ORDER DISCUSSED

7. Not sufficiently communicating who you are and answering peoples questions online. Online instant access is the preference of digitally oriented people. Instead many congregations expect people to visit and bumble around and figure things out over time.

6. Related to number 7, not using the tools of our time, especially video, to eliminate the mystery around who your minister, staff, and key leaders are. You should be showing members, staff, and your minister(s) in videos. This can be simple smartphone videos or videos filmed in Facebook Live sessions.

5. Waiting for potential new members to appear before scheduling or announcing orientations, new Unitarian Universalist, and related gathering.

4. Expecting newcomers to go to and survive coffee hour.

3. Not enough physical space. People don’t feel like there is room for them once the worship service is 70% – 80% full.

2. Not having enough relational space. If all your groups are full and there aren’t people with the relational capacity to connect and form relationships with newcomers, peopel coming into your community can fail to make meaningful connections. This can happen even if you are a warm and friendly congregation. We can use growth oriented small groups to address this, a special kind of group led slightly differently than the average groups in your small group ministry program.  I’m working on a new online training related to this. More on that to come shortly!

1. Making joining feel like insignificant, instead of celebrating and making it a special milestone.

⭐ And the BONUS BARRIER — not encouraging (or allowing) youth raised in our congregations to become members!  For the love of coffee, how can we keep doing this?!  Well, perhaps it just comes down to the finances of it. Fortunately the way the UUA calculates fair share is shifting. See the NEW APF page.  Reminder, I don’t work for the UUA. I did once upon a time, but I’ve been 100% independent since 2002. Though our association is periodic client of mine.

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