Now I’ve gotta love so deep in the pit of my heart
And each day it grows more and more
I’m not ashamed to come and plead to you baby
If pleadin’ keeps you from walkin’ out that door

Ain’t too proud to beg, you know it sweet darlin’

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg — The Temptations

There are times that my love for our Unitarian Universalist faith is so full that I feel as if my heart will burst. I want every congregation to be vibrant; bursting at the seams with people wanting to make the world a place where every soul has space and encouragement to flourish.

Behind that aspiration is a reality where a congregation has to be “healthy” before they can be “vibrant.”  We consultants who serve congregations stress the need for congregations to send their leaders to systems sensibility trainings such as Healthy Congregations(R) or Smart Church to develop these sensibilities.   Most of our UU leadership schools include a strong component of systems understanding.  Congregational Leaders who have been through the training rave about how helpful it has been.  And yet, I still see a lot of resistance in some congregations about making this training a priority for their leaders.

I had an “aha!” moment about that resistance recently when reading the new Patrick Lencioni book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business(I should note that Lencioni is a favorite among many successful GenX religious leaders.)  Lencioni notes that:

In spite of its undeniable power, so many leaders struggle to embrace organizational health..because they quietly believe they are too sophisticated, too busy, or too analytical to bother with it.  In other words, they think it’s beneath them.

A couple of the cultural challenges within Unitarian Universalism is resisting the temptation to think that we already have the answers, or that some of the simple truths don’t concern us.   I hope that we can transform that attitude into one where we are not too proud to learn what we think we already know.  The Buddhists call this “beginner’s mind.”  The Christian Scriptures invite us to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child.” And our very own James Luther Adams reminds us that “revelation is not sealed.”

About the Author
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Leadership Development Consultant, Central East Regional Group (CERG) of the UUA. I have a vision of Unitarian Universalist congregations being led by thousands of diverse, spiritually mature and passionate people ready and willing to spread the good news of liberal religion.  I believe ministry is best when shared between lay and professional leaders. More information about me can be found on the UUA website.