We’re looking for a few brave Unitarian Universalist congregations for a little project – and by little, I mean potentially transformative for the future of our faith movement (not to oversell it or anything). Intrigued? Then you might want to join our team of beta-testers for the UUA’s new outreach efforts.
In the Spring issue of the UU World magazine, Rev. Terasa Cooley explained the new branding and outreach efforts of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Recognizing the shifting landscape of religion in America, religious leaders of all kinds have realized it’s not enough to preach to the choir anymore. For the UUA, outreach started with a new look and feel, including an updated logo and some better ways of explaining what is so powerful about our faith to those who aren’t already “in the know.” A study guide has also been in the works, which will be made available to the beta-testers. These outreach efforts have uncovered some invaluable insights about our faith and its potential to reach new audiences, but much of this potential still remains in theory. It’s time to take the next step and to put that theory it into practice.
Over the next six months our beta-testers will explore how the UUA’s new outreach approaches can help congregations learn about the signals they send off, find their niche in their community, and represent an emerging shared identity of the wider faith. And the exciting part is… we don’t know exactly how this will turn out. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got some pretty good guesses, but the truth is that our beta-testers will be co-creating, playing, discovering and experimenting with us to figure out how to leverage the key insights of the UUA’s outreach efforts to grow our faith and its impact in the world.
Click here to sign up to become a beta tester congregation. Beta-testers will attend a kick-off webinar at the end of the summer, receive a three-session study guide and get connected to other beta testers to form a learning circle. Congregations will learn about the UUA’s branding and outreach efforts and then identify one area of their congregation to apply those outreach strategies. Any UU congregations (or other UU groups, if you’re interested!) are welcome to join, as long as they can commit to the process.
Join us in the lab of faithful experimentation! For questions, email email@example.com.
Carey McDonald is the new UUA Director of Outreach starting July 1, 2014. The Growth Office could not be more excited to be working with him in this new way!
I am not a congregation, but I am a UU graphic designer with an interest in outreach: is there any place for such a one to participate in beta testing the new brand?
Hi friends! Here are our responses to two common questions that we are getting about this process:
What commitment is required?
– One group within a congregation who wants to be involved with the beta-testing is enough (Membership Committee, Social Justice Team, Communications Council, etc.), though a bigger commitment is ok too. The goal of the beta-testing is to try out the brand and outreach strategies in one area of your congregation, so as long as the folks in that area are involved, you’re in good shape. You can invest as much or as little time as you like- the study guide can be done in a single afternoon, and then your time commitment will depend on what project you pick to implement the outreach strategies.
We do also expect that you are in dialogue with your congregational leadership about your involvement so that your faith community is generally ok with your participation. That will look different for different congregations; some may want to get a formal approval from the board, while others might feel that a conversation with the senior minister is enough. Remember, this is open-ended, so if you are interested go ahead and sign up and we’ll try to cover more questions on the kick-off webinar. We hope to wrap up the beta-testing by December 2014.
Can individuals participate on their own?
– We’re working on this! We know there are lots of folks who are interested in being involved in outreach on so many levels, and that is awesome. The
congregational beta-testers project is a start, and over the next few months there will be more opportunities for individuals to find their place in this. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest and we’ll email you about next steps in the coming months.
It’s so great to see so much interest in this area, stay tuned for
more info in the next church year!
Could you explain what you mean by “one area of your congregation”?