Next Steps Weekend

Next Steps Weekend: Stewardship Planning


The Next Steps Weekend (NSW) is the first step in effectively utilizing a consultant to support your goals and aspirations as a congregation. It is among our shortest term, lowest cost offerings, yet it provides an invaluable foundation for future collaboration and provides your leadership exceptional insight into the options before you as a congregation. It is the beginning of our work together.

A congregation is a community, a network of systems. The NSW provides the opportunity to examine and measure that community and those systems across a wide spectrum, not just stewardship, to ascertain the overall health and capacities of the congregation.


Provides an examination of the congregation’s strengths, challenges, risks and opportunities. Congregations report that NSWs result in immediate impact as well as long-lasting value in terms of strengthened stewardship and generosity. The following benefits  are typical:

  • Shares lessons learned and best practices from other congregations.
  • Measures value and compatibility of a consultant before a larger program relationship.
  • Clarifies how, where, and when a stewardship consultant can be helpful.
  • Determines if you are ready for a major step, such as a capital campaign.
  • Lays the foundation for follow-on work for successful programs, such as budget drives, strategic planning, endowments, and other areas determined during the NSW.

What We Offer:

The NSW process begins many weeks before the visit. Following initial conversations and/or email exchanges, the congregation provides extensive information for the consultant’s review and analysis before the visit. The consultant recommends an agenda and participants for the NSW, and provides information to share with the congregation to publicize the weekend and foster engagement and participation.

During the NSW, the consultant facilitates a series of small group meetings with essentially the entire church leadership representing a wide range of committees, and often speaks to a large group of congregants at least once during the visit.

At the conclusion of the visit, the consultant provides a verbal overview of findings and initial recommendations. This is followed shortly with an extensive written report, with specific recommendations and observations toward your goals and aspirations.

Next Steps Weekend Reviews

Amazing knowledge base

As Mark promised, the visioning weekend sessions were full, busy and very energizing. We have received great feedback from those who participated and several newer community members and folks who had been involved in other efforts, emerged as true leaders and are enthusiastic about taking the results of the visioning weekend to the next step. We appreciate Mark’s amazing knowledge base and his humorous and effective leadership style!

John Lyons, President, First Religious Society in Carlisle, MA

Excellent summary report

We are all looking forward to your onsite presence. I was blown away when you paid us your Next Steps Visit last year. I came to attend one meeting early on Saturday and ended up staying for most of the day. I pick up your excellent summary report whenever the need arises — it is the most thorough, impartial and informative guideline that we have. Especially now that we are shaking so many trees simultaneously, many of those old leaves want to continue hanging on to their old familiar branches.

Finance Trustee, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield, IL

Nothing but good comments

Bill, we are slowly digesting your report.  I think that we had you come at a very opportune time. I have heard nothing but good comments about the Next Steps Weekend. What – no one wants to complain????  Amazing!

Stewardship Chair, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church

One word... Outstanding

I would sum up the weekend with one word … outstanding! Thanks to you and the UUA for making such an excellent resource available to us here in Stow.

Roy Miller, Stewardship Chair, First Parish Church of Stow and Acton