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On August 7, 2008, three members of the UUA’s Mid-America Region Staff Group (Prairie Star, Central Midwest, and Heartland) presented our first shared online workshop. It was part of a series we’re doing called “Ten Good Ideas.” In this case, it was “Ten Good Ideas about Getting Your Church Ready for Fall.” Things went extremely well! Dori Davenport Thexton, Ian Evison, and I used the Persony software that’s available from the UUA to show a PowerPoint presentation on our Ten Good Ideas on participants computers, and we were able to give our oral presentation telephonically using a bridge line. I was in Saint Paul, Dori was in Wisconsin, and Ian was in Illinois. The participants came from all over the Prairie Star and Central Midwest districts: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri (unfortunately, no one from Heartland was on the call). We shared our ideas and heard some good ideas from the participants–which included a minister and a lay leader from a UCC church who found out about the workshop via Google–and at the end of an hour and a half, the general consensus was that the technology and the topic worked well.

Here’s the presentation, along with the list of our Ten Good Ideas. (And thanks to Tandi Rogers Koerger for six of them. We swiped them from her article “Thirteen Steps to Start Your Church Year Strong.”)

Good Idea #1: View greeting as a ministry.

Good Idea #2: Review your webpage with the eye of a newcomer.
Good Idea #3: Keep track of who visits and, even more important, who comes back.
Good Idea #4: Look over your facilities with the eye of a newcomer, starting with the sniff test in the bathroom.
Good Idea #5: Do a Facilities Audit with your Buildings & Ground Committee AND some members of your Board.
Good idea #6: Check that sound system, check it again, and make sure people know how to use it.
Good idea #7: Take the extra trouble with details—this is what says you really care.
Good idea #8: Fill the pamphlet rack with a good selection of introductory information about Unitarian Universalism and about your local congregation.
Good idea #9: Give a gift. Giving a gift establishes a connection.
Good idea #10: Create a team—formal or informal—to see how other congregations greet newcomers (UU congregations and non-UU).
Bonus Idea: Good Idea #10: Make use of the great free resources from the UUA.

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