I became a Unitarian Universalist for one reason, and one reason only. You might have many reasons why you became a Unitarian Universalist, or remained one if you grew up within the faith. I have only one reason and her name is Gaby.
I became a Unitarian Universalist because my high school friend Gaby invited me to church one springing Sunday morning. It truly is that simple.
According to Dr. Thom Rainer, 82% of people who don’t attend church would probably try it out if they were invited by a friend. But only 2% of churchgoers actually invite ANYONE to church.
I can’t really remember what Gaby said that convinced me to venture to church for the first time in my life, beyond the odd funeral or wedding. But if I am to be honest, I am the type of person who doesn’t turn down the opportunity to try something new, so it probably was a pretty easy sell.
What I never expected was how Unitarian Universalist would change my life. How it connected me to some of the most fabulously creative, intellectually challenging, and compassionate people I have ever met. How I would have my heartbroken by the numerous moments when we fell short of our lofty values and ambitions. How I would fall so in love with our movement that I would go to divinity school and become a minister so I could devote my entire life’s work to our faith.
None of this would have occurred, if Gaby had not extended an invitation for that first encounter, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
Currently I have the priviledge of working for FAITHIFY.org – our Unitarian Universalist crowdfunding website. Every day I get to help to support individual UUs and congregations to crowdfund their dreams – and each day I am reminded of Gaby.
Why? Because the success or failure of crowdfunding campaigns relies on one simple thing: Did You Invite People In?
The stats are staggering: successful campaigns on FAITHIFY have been shared an average of 300 times on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. (Unsuccessful campaigns are shared less than twenty times).
People don’t come to church, or to your crowdfunding campaign, if you don’t invite them in. That’s the hard truth.
In the last one and a half years FAITHIFY has learned some important lessons that could help our congregations thrive in the 21st century world in which we find ourselves. We decided that we shouldn’t keep our learnings quiet…so we wrote a book (well an e-book!).
Four Things Crowdfunding Can Teach the Church explores four practical lessons that can help congregational leaders, like yourself, amplify their impact. Each lesson is accompanied by a set of exercises or questions that can help you implement the lesson in your local context. Better yet, the book is free! Want to get your free copy?
Claim your free copy of Four Things Crowdfunding Can Teach the Church here.
Sean Neil-Barron is the project manager of FAITHIFY, who loves the crowd so much he is contemplating spending an entire day crowdsourcing his every movement.