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Your Life's Work | An Interim Perspective

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

I am reminded of a title of a book by Marshall Goldsmith. What Got You Here Won't Get You There, and while stuffed full of leadership wisdom, I just want to focus on the title of the book. Let's just pick the last 30 years here and apply the title to what we know. What got us Here - to 2016 - won't get us There - our destiny, our future. So what's next? This is your church. It will be your church after I am gone. What is your future? How will you shape your destiny? How will you get to There? The one thing I can say for sure is that you will not get There doing the things that got you Here (a.k.a. "We've always done it this way.") So, I prepared a guide—an assessment to help you. When I came in September, I made a promise to you all—to care for you. This assessment is just one of those ways of caring for you, and of acknowledging that you are my life's work and the church is yours. Let's take a peek via the Executive Summary:

An Executive Summary with nothing but questions? Yeah. How Unitarian. Come in and have all your answers questioned.

 1. Sacred Purpose. We have a sacred purpose. Where is our commitment to it? Who in the congregation and the wider community would miss our church if it were gone tomorrow?

2. Complexity. What would happen if we made it easier to come into, and create, the embrace of this sacred community? Align our programs? Focus our resources? Deepen our spirit? Be made whole?

3. Stewardship. How can we nourish a spirit of generosity here? What blessing may we impart with our time, talent, and treasure?

4. Friendliness. We're friendly here aren't we? How do we really engage the newcomer? How should we? How do we reach out to those who are drifting away? How do we give thanks to those who serve our community?

5. Governance. Who is managing our vision and directing our resources toward that future? What change will this congregation make in the world? For whom? And at what cost?

6. Millennials. Where are our young families? What does this mean for our church a decade from now?

What will you risk for this Special Place?

Engaging these issues will help you become more attractive to the professional religious education talent that you will seek next year and lead, I believe, to a fuller expression of your mission: “Connect. Inspire. Serve.” Some of these issues, leadership is already working on; some are new conversations. All life is Interim. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? What's next? How can I help?

Steven Mead

Interim Director of Ministries with Children and Youth


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First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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