Big Ideas for Small Congregations – a new resource!

Years ago now, Anne Heller wrote a book called Churchworks which quickly became a primary resource for Unitarian Universalist congregations because it covered almost all aspects of congregational life and did it in an engaging way. I’ve recently run across a book which is, I think, just as helpful, and its target audience is small congregations. The book was written by Jane Dwinell and Ellen Germann-Melosh, both former Unitarian Universalist Association District Staff members with extensive experience working in small congregations. It’s called Big Ideas for Small Congregations: a friendly guide for leaders. The book, available for $20 [free shipping within the U.S.], is available from Spirit of Life Publishing, PO Box 243, Montpelier, VT 05601.

Big Ideas is organized in three sections: Centering, Connecting, and Creating Change. Centering has to do with the organizational aspects of congregational life, such as leadership, finance, a place to meet, communication, managing conflict. Connecting is all about the relational aspect of congregational life that brings people together — worship, religious exploration, hospitality, pastoral care. Creating Change is about mission [“why do we exist?”], growth [“are we serving those who would appreciate our lifegiving message?”], and how to start a new congregation.

This resource is chock-full of good, practical ideas and would be an excellent study guide for small or new emerging congregations. A group of leaders could read a chapter a month and then do a reality check on their own activities, to see if changes or improvements are needed. The chapter on Money would be a great place to start; there’s a can-do spirit that pervades the material.

I have just one concern about this book — it’s in about 10-point type, and it’s a little hard on the eyes.

But that’s minor. If you are a leader or a member of a small congregation [less than 150 people in worship], this book is a handy little resource guide for you! I’m going to be recommending it to our congregations in Prairie Star District.

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3 Responses to “Big Ideas for Small Congregations – a new resource!”

  1. John Blevins Says:

    Thanks Nancy.
    I’ll be visiting with UU’s in Hutchinson KS in a couple of weeks, and this sounds perfect for them.

  2. nheege Says:

    Yes, John, I think it would be a great resource for “emerging congregations” [new or not yet affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association] because it’s so comprehensive. Glad to hear you’re going to Hutchinson! Safe travels!

  3. Big Ideas for Small Congregations - a new resource! « Nancy’s Views on the Landscape « Vital Congregations Says:

    […] Posted by Annette Marquis on February 14, 2008 Nancy Heege, District Executive in the Praire Star District, has posted some great information about a new resource for small congrgeations. Big Ideas for Small Congregations – a new resource! « Nancy’s Views on the Landscape […]

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