From Visitor to a Full Spectrum of Member Engagement (141) (Fall 2016)

Faith traditions are all in a time of transition and the UU faith is no exception.  As we struggle to consider what oSpectrum-of-membershipur faith will look like in the world of congregations and beyond let us come together to consider some new perspectives on the traditional ideas of membership.

In this class we will expand upon the idea of a faith tradition that looks beyond the goal of increasing membership to a considering together what a full Spectrum of Engagement in our UU Faith might look like.  This spectrum was first presented at GA 2015 by Carey McDonald, Marie Blohowiak and Lori Emison Clair.

Fostering a Culture of Connection

    • Membership as Ministry
    • Welcoming the Stranger- Greeting as a spiritual practice
    • Pathway from Visitor to Community Member

Building a Community of Engagement

    • Creating a culture of belonging
    • Fostering connections among all
    • Program Development
    • Group Management/ Support (Affinity Groups)

 Striving for Integration and Leadership

    • Engagement Tracking
    • Retention

Lori Emison Clair worked with the amazing staff at First Unitarian Church in Des Moines from 2004 to 2015. During Lori’s 11 years on staff, First Unitarian membership grew from 240 to 539. Lori’s position began as part-time Membership Coordinator overseeing a mostly lay-led visitor process to serving as the Director of Congregational Life (DCL), which included overseeing new members and membership integration, coordinating hospitality, Wednesday night programming, community building events, affinity groups, Soul Matters (SGM), adult education programming, and working with the team that redesigned the church’s pastoral care into a neighborhood based Caring Communities model. While serving as DCL, Lori supervised a Congregational Life Assistant and the congregation’s childcare staff.

In addition to her position at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Lori helped form the Unitarian Universalist Association of Membership Professionals (UUAMP), serving as the Chair for the Steering Committee that formed the Association, serving as UUUAMP’s Vice President, Secretary, the first Coordinator for their webinar and book series, editor for the UUAMP Hiring Guide unveiled at GA 2014, as well as Chair for the Certification Committee as they sought and received a UU Programming Fund grant to design a nationwide certification program for Membership Professionals.

Online course fee:  $30 via PayPal or mail in a check.
Important! Before you purchase this class – please either log into your account, or create a new account. If you do not, the system will create a new account for you and you will not be able to choose your user name.

11 Replies to “From Visitor to a Full Spectrum of Member Engagement (141) (Fall 2016)”

  1. Lori Emison Clair Post author


    Thank you for your comment. I understand your concern about making follow up visitor phone calls. Not all people like the personal call approach. But some do as they feel form letters are in personal. Each individual has such different preferences for communication that I tend to encourage using a wide variety of methods…realizing many of our phone calls may go straight to voicemail.


  2. Lori Emison Clair Post author

    I am sorry if you are finding that some of the links to the class are giving you an error. UUAMP changed out their website this week and that caused all links to need to be re-submitted. I have sent them to Beth and I am sure she will have us back up online, soon.

    Sorry for the inconvenience!!


  3. Lori Emison Clair Post author

    Elizabeth thanks for your comment: (added below for clarity)

    “So I floated the idea of “welcome phone calls,” and we dropped it for two reasons a) my lay leaders thought it seemed “over the top” and creepy and b) I realized that I, as a stereotypical millennial, never answer my phone and I dislike voicemail. Thoughts?”

    I can understand your hesitancy and I am not sure I have a great answer. Yes we do often find that people do not answer their phones and we often leave a friendly voice message. Everyone is busy and screening your calls has certainly become the norm. But at the same time I like the idea of at least attempting to have a personal contact. So much these days are automated calls emails, etc…that part of me like to have that human touch, a real voice at the end of the line. Even if we do leave a lot of voicemail, when we do connect there is the possibility for magic, and I like that. Ultimately each congregation has to consider what volunteer capacity they have and where they want to put the energy. Not really a right or wrong way to connect I suppose. 😉


      • Renee Ruchotzke

        We have it set up so that each person creates their own account and can access the materials at their own convenience. We also provide materials for in-person sessions for groups who are taking the course together. The fee is $30 per participant. We provide a certificate of completion for each individual who completes the course. Sometimes only one person in a congregation registers and pays for a course, and shares the materials with others. In that case, only the registered participant gets “credit” for the course.

        If each person creates their own account and registers and pays for the course, they can access the materials over and over again at their own convenience. The course software “tracks” each person’s progress, so if a group is sharing an account, it is more difficult to figure out where to start where you left off.

        The course fees are currently well below similar trainings offered by other denominations. We have tried to keep them in a range where congregations’ “leadership development” budget line-items can cover a team taking a class or two. We do have need-based scholarships available – just have the potential participant email me with their information.

    • Lori Emison Clair Post author

      Hi Hillary,

      So sorry for the delay in responding. Each session has a video and each video is a different length. Varying from 20 minutes to one hour. Each session also has wondering questions and wide variety of resources to review.

      Hope that answers your question!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.