• Five Signs of Congregational DeclineRev. Phil LundAn online workshop presented on January 13, 2011, led by the Rev. Phillip Lund, Director of Faith Development and Congregational Growth for the Prairie Star District of the UUA.

    Research tells us that only 2% of congregations in the US are growing by 5% or more a year, which means the vast majority of congregations are either barely growing, treading water, or actively declining. Do you know where your congregation fits in? This workshop covered the five signs of congregational decline and offer some strategies on how to address them.

    Complete list of resources and links mentioned in the workshop:

  • Mission! Mission! Mission!Rev. Phil LundThis is an unedited recording of a webinar presented on Thursday, February 10, 2011, by the Rev. Phillip Lund, Director of Faith Development and Congregational Growth for the Prairie Star District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

    Just as bricks-and-mortar businesses need to consider location, location, location, congregations need to pay special attention to mission, mission, mission. Find out the steps for crafting a meaningful congregational mission and, more importantly, ways to put your congregations mission at the center of everything your congregation does.


    Complete list of resources and links mentioned in the workshop:

    Vision, Mission, and Covenant: Creating a Future Together

    Process, Not Program: Adult Faith Formation for Vital Churches

    Church Unique: “Recast Your Vision”
    Develop Your Vision Frame” 

    Marty Cauley: “Mission Drift…

  • Multi-Site CongregationsGuest Presenter: Rev. Christine Robinson, Senior Minister at First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Christine made a virtual presentation from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to two locations in Prairie Star: Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Kansas City, Missouri. It is a little longer than what I usually post here (about an hour and forty-five minutes), but it’s well worth the time, especially if you’re interested in the concept of multi-site congregations and would like to know more.

    This workshop explored the possibilities for multi-site Unitarian Universalist congregations. Multi-site congregations are those which have members living in two different locations: two or more sites, one church.

    • Large congregations, which are restricted by their buildings or their locations, look at multiple sites as a way to continue growing numerically or to do outreach to people not currently being served.
    • Small congregations which affiliate with larger congregations get services they can’t currently afford to offer their members.

    Here’s the complete script of Christine’s presentation, including the handout about the cost of starting a multi-site branch:

  • Staffing for GrowthMark StringerPresenter: Rev. Mark Stringer, Minister of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa

    When Rev. Mark Stringer went on sabbatical in 2007, he visited several large UU congregations across the country, to learn all he could about church staffing as related to congregational growth. Since then, he’s put into action a number of steps that have transformed the work of the Des Moines church.

    Mark led an online workshop for leaders of mid-sized congregations on “Staffing for Growth.”

  • Rev Andrew PakulaWebinar   New UnityThe Rev. Andrew Pakula was Prairie Star District’s theme presenter at the Fall 2011 Small Congregation Conference in Des Moines, IA. Andy’s presentations were extremely well received by those in attendance. The three are: The New Unity Story, Using Social Media, and Attracting Young Adults.

    Presenter: Rev. Andrew Pakula

    Andy Pakula is senior minister of New Unity-Unitarians, a small congregation in London, England which has grown from 35 to 100+ members in just five short years. To find out more about Andy and New Unity, check out Andy's blog and New Unity’s website

  • Year-Round StewardshipMark EwertAn online workshop presented on November 18, 2010, led by Mark Ewert, UUA Congregational Stewardship Services Consultant and Certified Leadership Coach.

    The FORTH Stewardship Development Program wrapped up a 7-site demonstration project in June of this year. It was based on content from the widely-used congregational text resource, Beyond Fundraising: A Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship by Wayne Clark. The demonstration project generated many significant areas of intelligence and usable best practices for UU congregations.

    This workshop reviewed the findings of the FORTH demonstration, detailing some of the achievements and challenges to implementing year-round stewardship, and discussed next steps in the further development of FORTH.

    Participants were asked to share their own experiences and tips for implementing effective stewardship programs.

    Mark Ewert is a congregational stewardship consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Association; his focus is on helping congregations to grow their cultures of generosity. In addition to 10 years as a fundraising professional, Mark has been a fundraising consultant, facilitator, and teacher for nonprofit organizations. He is also a certified leadership coach in private practice. For more information, please visit his website at

    UUA Fundraising Resources page