Years ago I studied the work of Ronald Heifetz, particularly his work relating to leading adaptive change. I've spent some time over the last month reflecting on his theories, and one that stands out is giving the work back to the people. Using that theory, a leader is focused on getting others to assume responsibility and instilling confidence in others through encouragement and support.
We've been sharing our ministry for three months now and I am astonished with what we have already accomplished. However, I am increasingly aware of my need to practice giving the work back to the people. I am always eager to serve the Congregation in any way I can. There is a fine line between serving and not allowing you to do the work of the Congregation, one that can be easily crossed if a careful practice is not considered. The work may engage a longer process, might involve more complicated steps, and require teaching when you, as a group, are doing it. But it is your work. You see if your minister gladly does the work, the opportunity for you to minister to one another is removed. I am keenly aware of the gifts and talent among us and am grateful to be able to call on you for your support and your ministry. For me the practice of giving the work back to the people is a spiritual practice. It is a reminder of my commitment to inspire and nurture ministry. It is a practice of patience and endurance versus speed.
This is one of the beautiful things about Unitarian Universalism. We gather, create, govern, and minister to one another, not relying on the authority of dogma or hierarchy to guide our work. We believe that as humans we can lead, serve, heal and save one another. Time is on our side. There is no need to rush. And so my work is not to do the work but rather cultivate meaningful ministries. So I shall. In this season of Thanksgiving, I count you and our ministry as among my blessings. I am grateful to be among you.