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Office Hours: Digital Culture and Congregational Membership

Happy Friday friends. Facebook LIVE office hours (1/18/19) answering some of your questions about digital culture and congregational membership development.

UPCOMING EVENTS: See below for 3 upcoming events, 2 Boston area, one online!

Wed, Jan 23 – Metro West RE Cluster – “Spiritual Life in the Digital Age”
I’m leading program for our local cluster of religious educators exploring how digital devices are disrupting spiritual growth and development. After my presentation, we’ll discuss the impact on parenting, family interactions, etc… Email or FB Message me if you’re an area religious educator and didn’t get the email through your network.

Sat, Feb 2UU Social Media and Membership Growth in Needham, MA
Social media, smartphones, and constant access to the internet is fundamentally changing how people form relationships, consume information and make important life decisions.  This has significant implications for congregations, especially with regard to how we share our news and announcements, and how we invite people into membership.    Learn More and Register

 

Wed, Feb 13Leading Congregations Monthly Live online training. February’s session is going deeper into Facebook Strategy, including report back from my review of how the fastest growing churches in the United States are using Facebook. Learn more.

Missed Leading Congregations Monthly January Video Bootcamp? The recording is in the member area. Join us to participate in live monthly sessions and access all previous sessions and handouts.

Leading Congregations Monthly in March will be focused on small group based congregational growth strategies. One of my favorite topics!

NEW ENGLAND SNOW STORM
Stay safe everyone!

T-SHIRT
Today’s t-shirt “Providence: Weird Since 1636” is brought to you by my sister, a member of my home congregation, the First Unitarian Church of Providence.

New England UUs – Join us Feb 2 Social Media and Membership Growth Training

 

Unitarian Universalists leaders in New England, join me at First Parish in Needham, MA on Saturday, Feb 2, 2019, for my next Social Media and Membership Growth day-long training.

Social media, smartphones, and non-stop access to the internet has changed how people are researching, exploring, and choosing congregations.  To help people successfully connect with our congregations we need to bring more of our greeting, orientation, and education efforts online.

We can no longer wait for them to show up in person.  We need to show up where they are — online actively trying to determine if your congregation is right for them.  To do this, they need your support.

Interested in reaching the majority of adults who use smartphones and are digitally oriented?  Join us for this day-long training designed to help bring your membership development efforts in line with today’s digital culture.

Register via Eventbrite

 

NEW: Leading Congregations Monthly LIVE Training Program

Friends, my new LIVE monthly training program has launched!
Join us to participate in monthly live trainings sessions designed to help you lead and grow your congregation.
You may also access session recordings and supporting materials in our member area.  It has never been easier to infuse your congregation with new ideas, strategies, and energy.
LeadingCongMonthly-COVER

Join Before Our Next Session

Here are our upcoming Leading Congregations Monthly training topics:

Video Message Bootcamp

January 9th, 7:00 – 8:30pm EST

That’s right! We’re going deep into strategies for using video to communicate, engage, and inspire.

We’re talking simple videos anyone with a smartphone can make.

Facebook Strategy

February 13th, 7:00 – 8:30pm EST

Facebook has made massive changes which have hit congregational pages hard.  From prioritizing groups to new policies on issue advertising.

In this session we’ll cover Facebook strategy best practices, as well as look at emerging challenges — like the balance of using pages versus groups.

 

Learn more about Leading Congregations Monthly

 

 

Embracing Family Ministry with Laura Beth Brown

 

In this Facebook Live conversation with Laura Beth Brown and Peter Bowden we discuss “Embracing Family Ministry” based on Laura Beth’s popular workshops and role as Director of Family Ministry at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation is Summit, NJ.

We discuss how her congregation’s approach to family ministry is drawing inspiration from the book “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age” by Juana Bordas
and what some of the resulting changes look like.

From my discussion with Laura Beth in preparation for our interview, I learned that she leads workshops related to volunteer/stewardship strategy and creating a spirit of generosity and therefore, sustainability in our congregations.

Scroll down for more on Laura Beth Brown and links to people and resources mentioned in this video.

You may also watch this on my UU PLANET Youtube Channel.

GUEST INFORMATION

Laura Beth Brown is a 500-hr Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, an amateur grill chef, and the Director of Family Ministry at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, NJ.

She is primarily a vinyasa and prenatal yoga instructor with a therapeutic yoga lens and has certifications in Prenatal, Children’s Yoga, and Off The Mat Into the World (the bridge between yoga, self inquiry, and effective community action). As a singer/song-leader and harmonium player, she also leads call-and-response community singing known as kirtan, a form of Bhakti yoga, or the yoga of devotion. As a yogi, Laura Beth leads workshops in Bhakti Yoga, Prenatal yoga, and Conscious Activism.

In role as a religious educator, Laura Beth has led 12-hr workshops on Embracing Family Ministry with her Ministerial Supervisor, the Rev. Emilie Boggis, at this year’s Center Institute for ministers, and then again on Star Island for religious educators. Just last month, she presented at LREDA Fall Conference as well. She also leads workshops on volunteer strategy called Stop Recruiting, Start Retaining as a means of collective sustainability for congregations.

RELATED LINKS

Kim Sweeney and Courageous Faith Consulting
https://kimsweeney.com

The blog by Rev. Emmily Boggis “Reflections on Parenting in the Pew” may be found on the home page of the Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation  website.
http://summitbeacon.org

The Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA)
https://www.lreda.org

Peter Bowden’s UU PLANET Facebook group for Unitarian Universalist congregational leaders, staff, and religious professionals.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/uuplanet

As always, please share this post with others who might appreciate this conversation.

https://twitter.com/uuplanet/status/1070736067500929025

How UU Reston added 101 new members in 2 years

In this session, I’m joined by the Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, Virginia.

We discuss her congregation’s incredible membership growth — 101 new members over the last 2 years!

Many of the strategies they use are ones your congregation can implement.

Rev. Debra says that if they can do it, you can do it!

Here are a few highlights:

• They use a SIMPLE COMMUNICATION CARD to collect name and email of visitors, as well as a few other details.

• The week after a person visits and fills out a communication card, a PRINTED NAME TAG (blue for newcomers) is waiting for them.

• The minister greets people outside the sanctuary and strives to GREET NEWCOMERS BY NAME by their third visit.

• There is a MONTHLY COFFEE WITH THE MINISTER following the service for visitors and newcomers. Instead of a more substantial orientation twice per year, they’ve shifted to monthly Coffee with the Minister events with these promoted throughout the month.

There are many other things they do to streamline the path to membership. Watch the video to get those details, including how they approach pledging.

Please share this with your staff, membership committee, and any leaders interested in membership growth.

Have related ideas, strategies, or success stories?  I’d love to hear from you.

Related Links:

UU Reston website
http://www.uureston.org

About the Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner
http://www.uureston.org/minister/

Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner’s books on Amazon
https://amzn.to/2D2nEYw

Recorded Oct 31, 2018 via Facebook live in my UU PLANET Facebook group for UU religious professions, staff and lay leaders.