Saturday, March 15, 2014

Including fire exits and spiritual concierge service

(This is another angle on an idea I've been working on for a while.  The first take, from another angle, is here.)

From time to time people agree to be on a committee or take on a critical role, and at some point they might realize that it is not working.  Perhaps there has been a life change or too much time has passed, but maybe it is just NOT a good fit. Or maybe the person has not made that realization, yet change needs to happen.
Yes, laying a groundwork of terms and leadership development training are two important pieces of building healthy ministries.  But might we include some "escape" options in the infrastructure of our systems to make shifts possible, and maybe even encouraged?  
Put more simply--can someone say "No thanks" to an obligation and stay in the larger system?  Congregations need to make this reasonable, or risk these people fleeing in their shame/apathy.  (Last time I checked, neither shame nor apathy were spiritual values we want to uphold as Unitarian Universalists...)
Susan Smith, one of our Congregational Life folks down here, talks about how sometimes we are better at honoring people's Utilitarain Worth than their Inherent Worth.  How do we help congregations and individuals to make space for transformation, and to recognize that shifts are not just inevitable, but healthy?

Part of this, I think, would be an annual (or some periodic) honest and caring check in among leaders--how are things going?  Who is finding their work meaningful?  Who is feeling pulled in another direction?  Some of this may need to be one-on-one conversations, and a culture where no one need feel trapped.

Spiritually, the community needs a sense of grace and abundance.  People need to feel that they are still welcome even if they are not carrying a specific load, and there needs to be enough flexibility in the system that each shift is not immediately internalized as a 'loss'.  
There is so much to consider.  Thank goodness it is sacred work.

No comments:

Post a Comment