Living with Intention in a Church Community
One of our big questions for this year is: “How can people be involved in activities and leadership in ways that feel life-giving and not based on obligation?” This question affects all churches and volunteer organizations because there are fewer people volunteering than there used to be. There are many reasons for that decline in volunteers. Single income households are much rarer and studies show that everyone is working many more hours than before. And, the last 18 months have people reassessing their priorities in response to the pandemic.
Part of this question is how we can structure activities and leadership so people can do what is fulfilling to them while ensuring that everything that needs to be done is done. How we answer this is more about our community and values than it is about recruitment.
But another part of this is growing a community where everyone has an answer to the question:
“How can I be involved in activities and leadership in ways that feel life-giving and not based on obligation?”
Given this month’s theme of living with intention, Kim Hall and David King will reflect on their answers to this question. We would love to hear from others their answers to these questions and the ways that the community can support them.
Kim Hall: I believe that commitment is a core part of living with intention. I see this in a very positive light. Commitment is very different from obligation, which to me has a negative connotation. Obligation is intending to fulfill another’s expectation of you. Commitment is fulfilling an expectation of yourself; this can be done individually as well as within the context of community. Finding a group of others that share your goals and values enhances commitment. Intention is a plan to move goals forward and commitment to the plan, when shared, reinforces the intention.
As a member of the board, there is very intentional seeking of consensus around plans and goals. Once consensus is achieved, shared commitment to the goals moves them forward very smoothly. This is a big reason why being a part of the board, as well as a member of the larger community we serve, feels very life-giving to me. Working together, as David and I have done on this update, is also fun and energizing!
David King: Being on the board feels very life-giving to me. Part of it is what Kim talks about – being part of a consensus oriented group of like-minded people with a shared commitment. Pretty much every vote has been unanimous because we talk and listen to each other until there is consensus. It is energizing being part of a group that embraces the following covenant:
In order to fulfill our roles as members of the Board of Trustees of the UUCSW, we covenant with each other to:
Be open to each other’s ideas.
Be transparent in our work.
Assume good intentions of one another.
Speak with respect to all our members.
In doing so, we will do our best work, cultivate our strengths and honor the congregation that we serve.
But another part of it is much more personal. It is more than the fact that I value the deeper connection found in groups working towards a common purpose.
The various roles that I have held at UUCSW have enabled me to try new and different things, and I found that I enjoyed some that I would not have expected ahead of time. I view that as part of my “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” because they help me learn more about myself.
That brings me to the commitment to yourself that Kim mentioned. To me, part of that commitment is to allow my searching self to be a part of this community of communities – because like gravity each will influence each other and both grow from the experience.
David King and Kim Hall, UUCSW Board of Trustees