I had the privilege of attending the Midwest Leadership School in Beloit, for a week in July.
The purpose of the school is to develop lay leadership in UU congregations. There were 30 participants in the group from Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa and Nebraska congregations.
Youth leadership school was also going on at the same time. Adults and youth participated in two worship services at the beginning and end of each day. A group of youth and adults planned and led the services. We were encouraged to try new things in worship. Guided meditations, building with Legos, singing rounds, and sharing responses to a question were tried by various worship planning teams.
Participants attended presentations by Midwest Regional congregational consultants packed with interesting and practical information. We heard presentations on UU history, covenant, mission, systems, intercultural competence, conflict, emotional intelligence and change.
Two small group sessions a day (Leadership and Credo groups) provided the opportunity to get to know people and work together in a more interactive format. Leadership group gave us the opportunity to discuss leadership and practice it in a group. Our first assignment was to define leadership. Here is the definition my group wrote. “Leadership is the ability of a person to organize, motivate and mobilize a group to set goals, and accomplish tasks toward the achievement of a shared vision.” Credo group allowed us to explore beliefs, think deeply and reflect on who we are as leaders.
Open space session allowed participants to post topics they wanted to discuss and interested people could attend those sessions. Great conversations occurred at mealtime and lots of information was shared about budgets, growth, conflict, staffing, and more. I shared information about our hospitality teams that was very exciting to people.
The sharing continues. A Facebook page was established and questions and discussions are continuing as we start the new church year.
I highly encourage members to consider attending leadership school – both adult and youth. There is money in our budget for leadership development. The experience would be beneficial for an individual’s personal growth and for the congregation.
Laurie Young, President, MSUS Board of Trustees