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.

Engaging people in congregational life using social media – climate justice example

How can you use social media to engage people in congregational life?  It isn’t by bombarding them with boring cut and pasted invitations to attend!

In this excerpt from my weekly live Q&A / office hours in our UU PLANET Community group, I share an example of using social media to engage people with a specific worship service and upcoming area of focus for the congregation. Because it is dangerously HOT, HOT, HOT in Boston I use a climate justice focused service and launch of a new climate justice ministry as an example.

Organizations I used in this example:

Note that YES, we do need to work on addressing the root causes of climate change, but I think a special focus for our congregations should be helping to re-connect humanity,  cultivating and articulating a vision for how we do “climate disruption” together, and working to address associated injustices.

 

UU Facebook Advertising Outreach Strategy

In this week’s live chat I discuss Facebook advertising and outreach strategy for Unitarian Universalist congregations.   

 

In this session we explore the outreach potential of Facebook ads, how you might use them for targeted outreach this September / Fall.  We also cover questions submitted by members of our UU Planet Community group in advance. 

Some of the outreach examples include:

  • interfaith families
  • parents of young children
  • young adults
  • people new to Unitarian Universalism
  • people interested in immigration justice.  

We talk budget, the need to have a clear goal, and importance of connecting outreach campaigns with specific events.  

Go to video on Facebook to see comments, questions, and my responses.

UU religious professionals, staff members, and volunteer leaders, you’re invited to join my new UU PLANET community group for Unitarian Universalists leading and growing amazing congregations. Check it out. We’re sharing resources, ideas, and continuing the conversation following each week’s live chat.

Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/uuplanet

Live Session: Lifespan Small Group Ministry Approach to UU Religious Exploration

Live session exploring using a lifepan small group ministry model as the engine for our Unitarian Universalist religious exploration, leadership development, and justice work with children, youth, young adults, and adults. Video was recorded in our UU PLANET Community Group on August 14, 2018.

 

LIVE SESSION: Using SMALL GROUP MINISTRY

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

• What kind of group experiences do you have for adults in your congregation? Where is group life jamming in your congregation?

• What about groups with children, youth, and young adults? How do these compare to your offerings for adults?

• What do you think the benefit would be of integrating our vision and approach for groups across ages?

QUESTION FOR PETER
Have questions for me on these themes? Share them in our group or contact me here! I’m working on turning my core small group ministry trainings for program leaders and group facilitators into online trainings. Would love to include more on groups for all ages. Your questions are a big help. Thank you.

Live Session: On Welcoming and Hospitality

Live session talking GUEST SERVICES recorded in our UU PLANET Community Group on August 8, 2018.

I discuss greeting and hospitality and kicks off our group’s conversation on what we can do to make sure guests have a great first visit. It also includes some common pitfalls to avoid.

We’ll be exploring this and related topics as we approach September.   If your congregation has a practice or insight related to welcoming, greeting, and hospitality, share it in our group or as a comment on this page.

Need to train your greeters?
I’m working on a new online greeter training for Unitarian Universalists (and friends).  I’ll email you when that new training is open for registration.  Not sure if you’re on my mailing list? Subscribe here.