A few months ago, the Membership Committee and I became curious about how some of those who had begun to connect in our congregation were doing a few months after their early experiences. They printed a report and started going down the list. The team wondered: how are these folks doing as they move along their path – what one Committee member describes as moving from calling Foothills “that church,” to “my church,” to “our church.”
The Committee started with the basics – have we seen them? Because most of us tend to gather on Sundays, we wondered if we had seen them recently in Sunday worship. After that, the group assessed if they’d connected to any of our social groups or through our caring team. Or just as importantly, had they come to any of our programming outside of Sunday – a small group, Adult RE program, or a Family event. Which in turn led to whether they had served within or beyond the congregation. And finally, the Committee wondered if they’d literally joined the church, and expressed their commitment with a financial pledge of support.
If these new individuals were lacking in any of these things, the group assumed they probably weren’t yet calling Foothills “my church,” let alone thinking about being a part of the “we” of our community.
From these questions, the Committee and I started to name a path of meaningful membership in our congregation, the ways we understood that membership could become vital and life-changing: worship liberally, connect in a caring community, grow in spirit, serve in partnership and give in gratitude.
Since then, we’ve changed the Path to Membership class so that we are talking in terms of these 5 areas, and asking each person to think about how they will walk the path in a way that has meaning for them. But that’s just the beginning. We’ve realized these 5 areas can be helpful to more than just newcomers. These categories are the invitations this congregation is making to its members all the time, as we each discover how we are connecting and growing in Beloved Community and our Unitarian Universalist faith.
Still our congregation must ask ourselves – why are we doing these things? What motivates all this worshiping, connecting, growing, serving, giving?
Your answer to this question is what you understand as our congregation’s mission, the fire that drives us in all that we do. I’d love to hear your bold answers and big visions – don’t be shy. Comment here, or email me at Gretchen@foothillsuu.org or tell me on Sunday. Life is too short for us to put so much time and effort to anything less than what truly matters. Let’s make sure our congregation is filled up with this kind of vitality.