Fishing Tips – How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith

Last year we held three separate events that provided data to the leaders of South Fraser Unitarian Congregation about what we wanted:

  • the start-up workshop (facilitated by Rev. Wendy McNiven at the start of my time here,
  • the listening circle facilitated by Metro Vancouver Alliance that drew out our social justice passions, and
  • the ministerial survey conducted prior to the call you extended to me to become your settled minister.

One of the consistent themes that arose from all the data, was the desire for growth. Your Board is paying attention to the data, and one of the ways in which it is doing so is by engaging in a common read: Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith by the Rev. Dr. John Pentland. Each month we take time to digest a chapter – a member of the Board presents a summary of the chapter together and we talk through some of the questions posed in the chapter. I’ll do my best to provide at least some information in each chapter in my columns over the coming months.

One of the ideas in the first chapter that I found most relieving is the idea that the growth of the church isn’t centered on clergy – it’s a case of developing people – the right people for the right job and supporting them with education, mentorship, and whatever else they need to bring their best selves forward. People want to say yes to the right thing. When people are in the right seat they thrive and shine and people want to be around them. This breeds excitement and curiosity and inspires what we’ve been calling here greatness.

Here are some additional ideas that come from the chapter.

Tips for Leadership:

  • Ask a lot of questions. Listen to the answers.
  • Leadership requires holding the big vision, noticing the small gestures.
  • Get the right people on the bus.
  • Make small changes knowing that they can add up to something big.
  • Invite all to have a seat, just be sure the seat and the person fit.
  • Be willing to cast a vision that may seem crazy, even laughable. Let the vision lead.
  • Using, for example, the line between charisma and humility, find the line you personally need to walk and make it personal spiritual work.