What is United Fresh Start?

For many years, the General Council Office has been paying attention to the well-being of ministry personnel and attempting to understand what causes ministers to feel isolated and demoralized. The Isolation in Ministry study conducted by the General Council indicated a strong correlation between 1) the relationship between the minister and the congregation and 2) the degree to which ministers experience burnout, depression, anxiety and stress. In other words, the stronger the pastoral relationship between ministers and the congregation as a whole, the healthier and more effective ministry personnel will be.

United Fresh Start is a curriculum with 24 modules that teach ministers and congregational leaders critical strategies for working effectively together. It contains proven methods based on the work of organizational leadership experts and is based on a program developed by the Episcopal Church over the past 25 years. The program covers key topics, such as entering new systems, conflict management, family systems theory, polarity management, church size theory, and adaptive leadership. Together, ministers and congregational leaders gain a mutual understanding of leadership expectations, role clarity, and the use of power and authority. The program will help create a fresh start for the pastoral relationship and prepare you for effective mission and ministry together. Although the program is ideally suited for new pastoral relationships, several of the modules can be used to equip congregations to be effective in the face of any adaptive challenge.

You can read a summary of the specific Fresh Start modules on this page.

Starting the Fresh Start program in your Regional Council begins with a training event for facilitators. If you are interested in sponsoring a United Fresh Start training event please complete the request form on the Getting Started page.