I believe we live in a world that desperately needs organizing, just as it desperately needs the love and liberal faith of Unitarian Universalism. My youth and young adult years have been heavy with experiences in organizing, from environmentalism and anti-nuclear issues in the 1980’s, anti-war in the early 1990’s, environmental racism and livability in the mid 1990’s and racial justice throughout. Ultimately my deepest involvement has come within my home communities, the neighborhood where I live, the identities I have claimed (i.e. young adult, Asian/Pacific Islander, men, political progressive), in which I have learned as much about myself as I have had the privilege of building community through the organizing of others. At first, in my ignorance, I thought there were serious differences, and yes, the breadth and depth of topics to study in theological school are like drinking from a fire hydrant. Yet, here are some of the intersections I’ve found:
It Starts With One – in building any community you have to get to know people one by one and one-on-one.
Connect With Local Issues – whether I’m doing door knocking or pastoral care, build that relationship with an understanding of what the local issues are in the lives of the people you’re working with. This could be sports, weather, politics, development, history, but also tragedy, injustice, or inspirational moements that are experienced by the community.
Work From A Vision – all successful organizations need a vision, ownership of the vision, renewal of vision, and people who lead from a collective vision.
Use Stories – our ability to "show" and not "tell" is critical
Arrive Early Stay Late – ministers and organizers need to not just politic in the middle, showing up when they need something, like a VIP. They need to be there early, to help set-up, offer moral support, and at past the end, to debrief, and give gratitude.
Gift Discernment – seek out volunteers with intentionality.
Membership Dues – provide the backbone for financial funding.