Time Magazine ad from UUAIf you haven't had a chance to see the Unitiarian Universalist Association (UUA)'s new marketing campaign with ads in Time Magazine and a series of videos on the web, then you might want to take a look. The UUA has created this marketing campaign to "get out the good news about Unitarian Universalism" according to UUA President Bill Sinkford. To reach all those people who "are Unitarian Universalists but just don't know it," the marketing campaign seeks to communicate the values of our liberal religious faith. But are our congregations ready for all the newcomers this campaign may bring to our doors?


The tag line for the UUA marketing campaign is: "Nurture Your Spirit. Help Heal Our World." The ads in Time Magazine run as a two-page spread—a 1/3 page ad on the far left and a 2/3 page advertorial on the right. Between the ad and advertorial is a magazine story. The advertorial is about religion in America and has bothTime Magazine covers and the UUA logo on it. This national campaign positions our faith as the liberal religious authority on major issues of our time. You can view a sample of this ad on the UUA Website.

However, the UUA also recognizes that a slick marketing campaign is not going to build our faith communities simply by bringing new people to our doors. This is why they have included a host of resources in being welcoming to visitors and offering hospitality to our "guests" when they arrive. You can conduct a congregational assessment to determine your strengths and weaknesses in reaching out to seekers, welcoming guests, and including new members in the life of the community. You can get resources on how to create an intentional path to membership which helps involve newcomers into the life of your congregation and ideas for welcoming new arrivals as well as those who return after the first time.

So, is your congregation ready for the guests who may be arriving?  Will you welcome them with open arms, or will they find it a challenge they may or not be willing to overcome? Consider:

First of all -- can they find you? Is your congregation visible in the community? Is there a sign which announces your presence? Is your website up-to-date and attractive with information to encourage newcomers to arrive and participate?

Then -- will they come back? What kind of experience do your guests have when they arrive at your doors? What is the experience of the service like? What happens after the service? Is there any attention given to the children who arrive with their parents? Is there any follow up in the weeks after their first arrival

What happens when they do come back? If they had a good experience their first time, what response are they given for returning? Are they encouraged to participate in the life of the congregation? Are they given any attention or encouragement for returning? How does your worship and programming offer opportunites for newcomers and their children to get involved and make connections?

If you feel your congregation needs help in these areas, consider joining with other congregations in your area to request a district workshop on being more welcoming to newcomers and incorporating new people into the life of the congregation. For more information on growth issues and opportunities for workshops in this area, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faith Development and Growth Director for the Central Midwest District.