The Membership Development Council educates people about the benefits and responsibilities of membership in the church, recommends a “Path to Membership,” makes an intentional “ask” to have prospects sign the Membership Book when ready, welcomes new members and helps them engage in activities, provides leadership training to develop more effective congregational leaders, and provides outreach to help retain members. This Council will produce measurable results to help our congregation grow and become a stronger and more caring faith community with a strong financial foundation.
The Membership Development Council offers a comprehensive approach to membership, from visitors to new members to retention and leadership training. It has five areas of responsibility and each has its individual committee and chair:
- Visitors – welcoming visitors and prospective new members, guiding them on the “Path to Membership,” and making an intentional “ask” to join.
- New Members – tracking qualified prospects to sign the Membership Book, partnering with Religious Education personnel and Stewardship, as needed, and supporting new members’ engagement in church activities.
- Retention – Retaining new members in their first years and providing outreach to retain current and long-time congregational members.
- Young Adults – support Young Adults, 18-35 years old, single and married, with and without young families with a variety of activities to strengthen their membership commitment.
- Leadership – identifying future leaders of the congregation and providing them with education and training.
The Membership Development Council Chair shall be elected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting for a two-year term, which begins July 1. In the event of a vacancy of the Council Chair, the Board may appoint a resident member of the congregation to serve until the next Annual Meeting, at which time the congregation shall elect a replacement to serve the remainder of any unexpired term. This Council partners with the minister, a variety of other councils and committees, and support staff to be effective in achieving its goals.
The Membership Development Council volunteers provides a welcoming environment to visitors as prospective members, recruits and engages new members, retains them with continued program engagement, and increases the retention of established church members who are not fully engaged in the church community.
Each of the membership committees will work in tandem with related aspects of membership goals.
Committee leaders meet monthly with the Council members to assess issues and progress.
- VISITORS COMMITTEE
This committee welcomes visitors and prospective new members, guides them on the “Path to Membership,” and makes an intentional “ask” to join.
- Organizing the Greetings Table each Sunday
- Creating, maintaining and circulating data on prospects
- Organizing “Meet and Greet” luncheons, held six-eight times annually
- Supporting the “Introduction to UU and MVUC” classes with the minister
- Introducing new members to the congregation twice a year
- Partnering with the New Members Committee to produce the New Members Dinner annually
- Partnering with Religious Education on family names and prospective engagement in church activities
- NEW MEMBERS COMMITTEE
The responsibility of this committee is to welcome qualified prospects to sign the Membership Book, partner with the Stewardship Committee to support efforts of that committee, as needed, and support new members’ engagement in church activities so that they take on the member responsibilities of committing their “Time, Talent and Treasure.”
Until the time of the New Members Dinner, these new members will be the responsibility of the New Members Committee. After the dinner, they will be the responsibility of the Retention Committee.
- Organizing signing ceremonies for new members
- Introducing new members to the congregation twice yearly.
- Organizing the New Members Dinner annually
- Evaluating interests of visitors/prospective members and assisting them with getting involved in appropriate church activities.
- Supporting efforts of the Stewardship Committee, as needed
- RETENTION COMMITTEE
The responsibility of this committee is to assist in the retention of new members who have participated in the Annual New Members Dinner and provide outreach to retain long-term congregational members.
- Providing outreach to new members on a regular basis
- Utilizing data on interests of those members to engage new members
- Identifying current members to retain who may be on fringes of the congregation and who appear to be losing interest in church membership
- Providing outreach to those members through personal contact, referrals to spiritual leaders, and/or engaging them in new church activities
- Creating recognition celebrations for members’ milestones, such as 20, 30, 40 and 50 years of membership
A new program in 2016-17, “In Appreciation” tributes for The Windmill, provides a short written summary of the member’s influence and activities over the years upon the death of a valued congregational member. Partnerships in creating these write-ups include Leadership Committee, Every Thursday Group, Caring Associates, Memorial Walks, Legacy Group. This program is chaired by the Membership Development Chair.
- YOUNG ADULTS GROUP
The responsibilities of the Young Adult Committee (YA) are to welcome and provide information to prospective and new members who fall within the 18-35 year-old age group who are single, married, with and without children.
The committee co-chairs also partner with the chair of the Youth Retention Subcommittee.
This committee meets on an as-needed basis, with most work completed by e-mail.
The goal of YA is to increase the young adult membership of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, provide cohesiveness to this age group, and provide active involvement of Young Adult members of MVUC.
- Young Adults continue to monitor Visitor’s Cards for those interested in YA. To more widely promote it, the Council agreed to add the category “Young Adults, 18-35 years” on the Visitor’s Cards. All visitors in that age range are encouraged to join. The YA co-chairs follow up on those visitors who check interest in this group.
- Young Adults hold weekly trivia games nights and occasional social lunches after church services. In 2016-17, they began Second Sunday lunches after the church’s second service for activities of all YA members and prospects.
- Young Adults co-chairs partner with Youth Retention efforts by providing “Exam Packs,” to those college students studying for semester finals. They also provided a winter break party for returning college students who grew up in Mount Vernon Unitarian Church’s religious education programs in order to keep up interest in church activities. A May reunion is also planned.
- LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
This committee assists in the identification and preparation of leaders for MVUC through education, training, and shared experiences.
- Leadership Seminar This seminar is offered to a small number of church members at least once each church year. Selected church members who are already involved in various church activities are asked to participate in the workshop, which includes MVUC history, operations, networking, and leadership strategies.
- Conflict Management A related course on Conflict Management is presented by team members once a year
BOT retains responsibility for all policy decisions not articulated in this charter or specifically granted by the BOT or the Program Council, and for any financial decisions not pre-approved.
Primary author(s) of this charter: Dianne Brown
Charter approved by the Program Council: March 21, 2011
Charter approved by the Board of Trustees: April 12, 2011
Primary Author(s) of Revisions: Dianne Brown and Council, January 2017
Charter approved by the Program Council: February 27, 2017