Faith Forward:  From Visitor to Leader

Faith Forward:  From Visitor to Leader is a guided path for Unitarian Universalists to follow in their congregations, helping them navigate from building connections early on, to finding their sense of belonging as a member, to serving as a leader and boldly living their faith.  It was developed by First Unitarian Church of Dallas and is now being used at Unitarian Universalist congregations everywhere. UUCGN has purchased the program and hopes to take advantage of much of what it offers our congregation.

Faith Forward is more than a curriculum. It is a program that bridges faith development and the membership process by offering an integrated path that guides people from being a visitor to becoming a member, to serving in leadership in our congregation.  Faith Forward combines relationship building, experiential learning, direct instruction, and practical guidance on how to get connected and involved. Unlike traditional curricula, Faith Forward focuses on building relationships among participants, and between participants and other members and leaders of the congregation, by introducing us to a variety of different presenters and facilitators.

The Faith Forward program includes three Paths: the Core Path, the Advanced Path, and the Leadership Path.
In the Core Path, participants explore our congregation and Unitarian Universalism. Classes in this Path include: Inquirers Series, Roots, Beyond Inquirers, Spiritual Practice, UU History 101, and UU Elevator Speech.

In the Advanced Path, the classes build upon the foundation created by the Core Path with classes such as UU Theology, Coming of Age for Adults, Biblical Literacy for Unitarian Universalists, UU History 201, and Deepening Spiritual Practice. As with all Faith Forward sessions, the Advanced Path helps participants grow in their faith and deepen their connection to their congregation, and invites them to ask the question “how does this learning help me on my spiritual path?”

The Leadership Path (in development, available by year end) will cover areas/topics such as: meeting skills, stewardship, management, public presence, cultural competency, systems/strategic skills, mentorship, emotional intelligence and self-awareness around the identity/role of “leader,” along with some specifics related to different kinds of leadership roles in the congregation.

Along with class materials that include facilitation guides, videos, handouts, etc., there is also a small audio library and several webinars for leaders and facilitators.

You will be hearing more about UUCGN’s implementation plans for the Faith Forward program in the next several months. Both Membership and Adult Enrichment are discussing how best to introduce programs in the Core Path. Stay tuned for more information as we continue our planning.

We invite you to attend an hour-long meeting in Thomas Hall on Tuesday, September 10 at 3:00 p.m. (will be replacing the usual monthly Program Council meeting but won’t be as long!). At the meeting, Ann Fisher and Kathie Gorski, co-chairs of Adult Enrichment, will provide an overview of the program, show sample videos and curricula, and describe other resources from the Faith Forward program.  We will be inviting Rev. Tony to provide comments on the value of the program and Nancy Carroll to describe initial ideas from Membership.

Please direct any questions to Ann or Kathie.