This is a vibrant season for our congregations.

At this time of year we celebrate Ingathering Sunday, and even though things never stopped over the summer, energy surges as we begin a new church year. New faces are joining us for Sunday worship, and congregants are reconnecting with their Unitarian Universalist faith. Every August, leading up to Ingathering, we offer our “Seeker Sermons” on UU fundamentals, and we encourage people to bring their friends.

It's important to plan for what this time of year brings. One way we do that is by offering classes on the Faith Forward Path to meet visitors and members where they’re at. We offer the Inquirers Series every Sunday to engage newcomers who are flocking to our campuses and “church shopping.”

We need to be ready to welcome visitors and share about our church and Unitarian Universalism.

Another way we welcome visitors is by equipping our members to speak about our Unitarian Universalist faith in a succinct and meaningful way. In August we offered UU Elevator Speech. This three-session class is an opportunity for participants to articulate what it means to be part of this faith tradition and to craft a short speech to share with others.

Participants in the UU Elevator Speech class, who ranged from new to long-time members, were overwhelmingly positive about the experience. Everyone said that it helped them articulate what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, and that they were now more confident sharing their faith. Our members are ready to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism.

The UU Elevator Speech series is ideally suited for this time of year.

It coincides with our Seeker Sermons, it gets participants excited for the new church year, and it serves as training for those who will represent our church at the welcome tables, at community events, and through service and justice work beyond our walls. Some had the opportunity to put what they learned into practice immediately while volunteering at a local food pantry. Others will have the opportunity to do so at the Dallas Pride Parade and Festival this month.

How can your member engagement and faith development offerings enhance your church year? We will share more with you in the coming months about how we use Faith Forward: From Visitor to Leader to meet our congregants again and again, throughout the year, with the growth and learning opportunities they need.