I picked up theme-based ministry from ministerial internship at First Parish Church in Weston, MA, but the idea came from All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK. The last workshop I attended at General Assembly was led by the executive team of All Souls, Tulsa and they spoke about the entrepreneurial approach of their church since Rev. Marlin Lavanhar become senior minister. I was impressed with Marlin’s approach to cultivating relationships in the congregations that led to gifts that funded video equipment and the Jenkin Lloyd Jones Press, but I was most interested in the theme-based ministry. A good handful of UU congregations have now picked up on theme-based ministry and All Souls has started a website that will eventually host a theme-based ministry wiki for resource sharing. The site is already worth visiting – http://themebasedministry.org/, including a cool wordle introduction. Theme-based ministry:
- Gives members a balanced diet of theological learning, spiritual practices, and core competencies.
- Provides a balance of structure and freedom for clergy and laity to preach, teach, learn, grow, and be creative.
- Helps members observe and mark their own spiritual and personal growth.
- Offers members consistent exposure to liberal theology, biblical literacy, and religious ways of dealing with life issues.