Amy Asin

Amy Asin

Inside Leadership
Outline of a person pushing against falling dominoes

Most congregational leaders – when seeking to adapt their congregations to current realities and in order to bring in new members and/or create a sustainable financial situation – ask what new programs they should add or what new outreach they should do. As part of these generative conversations, it is also critical to ask the question: “What should we stop doing?”

In order to free up resources to do new things, you must either raise more funds, train more volunteers, or find something to stop doing. Simply layering more work upon overburdened clergy, staff, or volunteers won’t...

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Three lightbulb images made out of puzzle pieces

It’s that time of year when congregations start to form their board nominating committees, and committee members begin to think about the board vacancies they will have to fill. You may be considering which current congregational leaders might be ready for the next step of their leadership journey or, perhaps, which individuals might be best positioned to contribute to high-level conversations regarding the strategic direction of the congregation, long-term resource management, or policy decisions.  

Nominating candidates who can effectively be involved in the three modes of...

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Close-up of tape measure partially extended from its case

When I speak to congregations about how they measure success, I often talk about the need to move from viewing success through a program lens (number of participants, food/space, complaints, budget) to seeing it from a congregant’s viewpoint (relationship, impact, and meaning).

Similarly, the Union for Reform Judaism has been shifting how it collects and uses evaluation data, moving from a focus on execution and attendance at our programs to one that more closely considers impact on our congregations. We recently completed the first URJ Baseline Congregational Impact Survey, which...

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Man in dark business suit holding small cardboard silhouettes of people in his outstretched hands

An executive committee can play a crucial role in the strategic leadership of a congregation. Regrettably, many congregational executive committees – rather than fulfilling their true purpose – serve only to preprocess board decisions, leading to a disengaged board. We have seen a trend among congregations that realize this diminished role is ineffective but lacking an understanding of the true value of the executive committee, are choosing to eliminate it.

This trend is problematic because a well-functioning executive committee provides tremendous value to a congregation. Certain...

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Scrabble type letters spelling out the word CHANGE

It is universally acknowledged that the world around us is changing faster than ever. To stay relevant and thrive in this new world, change will be necessary in all congregations, even those that are doing well. The pace of change in the outside world demands it. Many congregational leaders are willing to change, but in most congregations, we see either disagreement or a lack of understanding about the depth of change required.

This continuum of change framework, adapted from the work of Dr. Robert Marshak, may be helpful as congregations grapple with issues surrounding change:...

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