“Shared Ministry” Transition Town Hall Meeting Summary from October 15, 2023

As part of our continued exploration of the meaning of shared ministry, the Transition Team hosted a Town Hall meeting on the topic. Perspectives from congregants were collected and provided to the Ministerial Search Committee.  We invite you to read through a summary of those results below.


QUESTION #1 What do you mean when you say “Shared Ministry?”

QUESTION #2 What are specific behaviors that demonstrate shared ministry?

QUESTION #3 What is most important to you about having shared ministry?

Shared Ministry as YOU see it

Participants were asked to answer questions #1 and #2 in small groups, with the group coming to consensus on how they would answer each question.  Participants were asked to answer question #3 as an individual only.  The Transition Team collected and aggregated the answers and provided them to the Ministerial Search Committee and they reviewed all responses.

In preparing this document, the MSC utilized information gathered from the Congregational Survey, Cottage Meetings, and Focus Groups, as well as this Town Hall meeting which the Transition Team dedicated to the topic of shared ministry. Below is a work in progress description of YOUR view of shared ministry. The topic of shared ministry is complex and ever evolving both within UUFD and the larger UUA organization. We hope to share with new minister applicants our current thinking and ultimately find a minister who will work with us to develop a unique UUFD shared ministry.

You were heard, we processed this information, and it’s given us direction about what to communicate to ministerial applicants about our perspectives on shared ministry. In general we see shared ministry as a continuum, in which we tend to veer more toward the side of wanting more input. For instance, we want a lot of collaboration in designing our worship service.

Below are the key topics from participants that speak to shared ministry at UUFD (in order of importance in terms of most frequently cited), along with some descriptive quotes from congregants.

  • Shared Decision making: Balance of direction, collaboration and responsibility.
    • “Co-creative, dynamic process that is guided by bylaws, policy, minister and members requiring broad participation. “
    • “The richness of the congregation is enhanced by the participation of all – which is manifested by respecting the voices of each member. “
    • “We share ownership of our spiritual home.”
  • Participation and Engagement: Building strong relationships with members (especially children) and staff.
    • “See enjoyment in staff, congregants, children, etc. when fulfilling mission (e.g., Pinesong’s feeling and energy).
    • “Minister who enjoys talking with people and is open to their thoughts and insights. Open mindedness, kindness and compassion between and among minister and congregation.”
  • Communication: Transparency, turning to wonder/curiosity, open mindedness and active listening among the minister and congregation.
    • “Good mechanism to work out perceived problems between minister and congregants.”
    • “Use our strengths and shortcomings to incorporate an attitude of why not? And how?
  • Mutual Trust: Among the minister and congregation:  
    • “The congregation needs to trust the minister and vice versa; concrete ways to build this trust; congregation that understands the minister’s role; minister who respects others’ opinions. “
    • “People feel heard and have a say in things that are important to them; and they trust the leaders (lay) to make decisions on their behalf.”
  • Sunday Service and post-service:  More input from the congregants (with a feedback system) and the Worship Arts Team.
    • “Diversity in music, sermon topics, workshops, education.”

In shared ministry there are multiple partners including the minister, other staff, lay leaders, and congregants.  All of the partners are important and need to have agency in achieving our mission.  Shared ministry serves our mission when we work together to find the balance of power and decision-making that engages, enlivens, and enables us to accomplish our work. On a final note, shared ministry is between all members.  Anyone furthering the mission of the fellowship is considered to be in ministry and is potentially practicing shared ministry.

For more detailed information contact Allison Andersen at allisonindurango@aol.com.