Leadership is about vision; it is about imagining better futures and seeing creative strategies for present circumstances.  Administration is making the best use of our current resources, in pursuit of our vision.

The congregation has the financial power and legal authority to do the work it chooses to do.  The whole membership–or more often, the leaders to whom they delegate their authority–are responsible for creating budgets, allocating resources and enacting policies for the good of the congregation and its wider community.  The minister is like a coach–educating and equipping the congregation, inspiring them, and helping them work together.

“Your advocacy and clarity on issues
are ever so helpful.”
–Christie, UUCGT

Ministers help to hold a congregation’s vision for itself; they help to clarify that vision, and to remind the congregation of their stated priorities in times of decision.  Ministers can model respect for the congregants’ time and money.  Finally, they may imbue staff meetings and committee work with a reverent, nourishing spirit.

Chip…handled the issues deftly…He never lost his temper; he always made certain that all voices were heard and he demonstrated moderation through… empathic presence towards others.”
–the Rev. Dr. Thandeka

I prefer to lead by example, rather than by fiat.  I try to find the wisdom in every viewpoint.  Instead of micro-managing people (which simply exhausts everyone concerned), I tend to trust in their creativity and commitment.  I think that an occasional failure is good for us (if we do not fail, we are not attempting enough), but if and when a change is necessary, I am willing to do the hard work of facilitating a better solution.

Another important job of existing leaders–lay and clergy–is to notice, recruit, train and develop new lay leaders.

I was awarded the faculty’s Leadership Award at the 2005 Meadville Lombard commencement exercises.

“How do you always speak directly to my heart with all the issues, problems, projects, joys and hopes that are always evident in your church newsletter?”
–Ramah Kidd, ASCC

An important part of leadership is communication; and one way of communicating is through the church newsletter (whether emailed or sent via USPS or both).  Newsletter columns are a basic vehicle for news and announcements, and I also aspire to write inspirational and pithy columns as often as possible.  Here are some examples, on the Bathroom of Heresy, birthdays, grieving and working for peace.