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Leading Faith-Filled Meetings
(or how to avoid meetings from hell) 

Help your faith community thrive

Build community while doing business

Include diverse viewpoints
Welcome healthy conflict

Lead efficient meetings with confidence

Leading Faith-Filled Meetings
(or how to avoid meetings from hell) 

Join us for a comprehensive course in how to lead 

effective and efficient meetings in faith communities

-- and elsewhere!


We'll explore the mindset and skills of successful leaders,

both on our own time and in live sessions on Zoom

While this course is primarily for non-ordained leaders 

of faith communities, if you want to lead efficient, engaging and effective service-oriented meetings, you are welcome! 


The course runs from mid-September through November

2022 on the Damascus Project Network, a social and learning platform of the United Church of Christ in MN and WI

The online sessions include interactive activities
and large and small group discussions 
designed to be
valuable, personal engaging and fun!

Future offerings of this course will be in shorter, more

frequent online sessions, such as 2 hr/week for 6 to 8 
plus the online lessons.

We will offer a non-religious version as well. 
If interested, sign up for course announcements!  

"I appreciate the different strategies used in this workshop
and structuring of the time with the material presented.


I have sat through many meetings and professional development classes and this was one of the best. Thank you!"


-- 2021 course participant

More about Leading Faith-Filled Meetings

Participants will...

  • Hold online meetings that leave people energized, not fatigued

  • Experience versatile and easy-to-learn activities that both help everyone  contribute AND use time efficiently (if you don't believe this, sign up for the workshop "A Taste of Heavenly Meetings" and see for yourself!) 

  • Foster safety and respect in your meetings

  • Minimize disruptive behaviors with soft interventions

  • Create effective agendas to help your group stay focused 

  • Receive personal support from those in your cohort and the instructors

  • Explore using appreciative and paradoxical questions in your meetings

  • Diffuse conflict before it erupts by recognizing the difference between interests and positions

  • Support healthy expression of differences of opinion

  • Adopt the attitudes of a Servant Leader

  • Improve your listening skills

  • Identify and heal personal "triggers" that hold you back from your authentic leadership

"Faith Filled Meetings was one of the most valuable

classes I have taken...After taking this course, I am more

comfortable and effective facilitating meetings. 


Surprisingly, I have also applied the content of this course to directing productive and engaging choir rehearsals. 


Highly recommended for all in positions of leadership." 


-- Janet Dahl, Director of Music, St. Martin’s Lutheran Church;

Former Director of Youth, Salem UCC


Q. Who may attend Leading Faith-Filled Meetings? 


While primarily for lay (non-ordained) leaders in churches, this course would also benefit committee members, seekers, clergy, church staff, leaders in faith traditions in general and even in service-oriented non-profits. 

If you want to lead better meetings -- by gaining confidence yourself and by being more fully aware of who is in the meeting, what your group is doing and how you might guide them to do it -- then the course and learning community will help you.


Fair warning: the examples and situations used in the course are drawn from both rural and urban churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the focus is on building leadership skills so churches can thrive and serve, 


Fear not, we will not try to convert you.  We only want to convert your meetings.  We will also offer a version of this course that will be non-religious. If interested, sign up for emails and course announcements here

Q.  What exactly does the Leading Faith Filled Meetings course cover? 


The first part of the of Leading Faith Filled Meetings (which is Unit 5 of the Leadership Skills series on the Damascus Project Network) covers:

  • Introducing ourselves and key concepts

  • Fostering respect and safety

  • Exploring four aspects of integral facilitation (self-awareness, group awareness, task management and group management)

  • Designing meetings (both agendas and actiities)

  • Creating robust questions


The second part of Leading Faith Filled Meetings (which is Unit 6 of the Leaderships Skills series) covers:

  • Discerning Inferences and assumptions

  • Working with positions and interests

  • Staying calm and connecting to compassion 

  • Designing for healthy conflict

  • Identifying our triggers.


Q. What are the Damascus Project and the Damascus Project Network?

The Damascus Project is a shared ministry of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Conferences of the United Church of Christ.  It both helps individuals explore and deepen their faith and connects local churches to each other.

The Damascus Project Network is the social network and learning platform for the Damascus Project. The Network is where you can access news, community, and Damascus Project course content.  


Membership in The Damascus Project Network comes automatically with the purchase of any Damascus Project course.  You may join the Network at no cost to you, without even taking a class.  Check it out

2020 - Barb and Mike - Block Portrait Studios --7 (2).jpg

Barb Bickford is the founder and principal of Bickford Collaboration and a lifelong member of the UCC in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is a group facilitator, educator and scientist working at the intersection of people, science and health. Barb believes the prospect of leading or enduring ineffective meetings discourages people from volunteering to step into leadership of the church. She is out to change meetings for good – from now on and for the good of all!  She loves gardening, canoeing and attending family camp at Moon Beach Camp.

Sandy Salvo 2019.jpg

Sandy Salvo has 30 years of experience in facilitative leadership, process improvement and team coaching. She serves on the Speaker’s Bureau of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She has a passion for working with congregational leaders to give them the skills and confidence to be effective facilitators, improving their ability to run meetings, engage in meaningful dialogue, manage conflict and create healthy environments. Currently retired from full-time work, Sandy enjoys devoting time to the things she loves most: Retreat planning, facilitation training, Qigong and meditation instruction, biking and time with her precious grandchildren.

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