YOU MIGHT BE READY TO PARTNER IF...
- You are excited about the new forms of UU community bubbling up (as in, “congregations & beyond”).
- You want to see these entrepreneurial efforts happen, but don’t feel all that entrepreneurial yourself.
- Your congregation has gifts of space, or money to offer, or volunteers eager to share their talent.
- Generosity and spreading Unitarian Universalism is in your church mission or culture.
If these ring true, you might be ready for a Partnership Multisite relationship!
Partnerships are not typically considered to be multisite, but many UU partnerships are in such deep relationship that thinking of them as multisite can be useful. While partnerships are not bound by staff like yoked models, or bound by mission like mergers, they are bound by shared space or financial support that often leads to members participating in the life of both partnership communities. There is a spiritual connection that goes far beyond “loaning you our money or space.”
Here's the skinny:
A Partnership Model is...
- made up of one established congregation and one “beyond community”
- bound by a gift of money or space
- motivated by “a spirit of help” and a “hunger for innovation”
- hoping to enable and offer the world new forms of UU community
The crucial point is that entrepreneurial ministries and “beyond communities” flourish with the aid of deep connection with existing congregations. It is a connection that offers gifts both ways. The 'beyond' community gets needed material support and spiritual encouragement. Never underestimate the power of someone telling you, “We believe in you!” The supporting congregation also receives gifts. Their investment leads them to care. Their care leads them to connect. Their connection changes they way they see the world and understand their mission. In partnerships, both sites grow!
If innovation excites you and blazing new paths is not daunting,
yours might be fertile ground for ministries that take you beyond your walls!