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The Peter Bowden Show

Education Podcasts

Welcome to the Peter Bowden show! Raised a Unitarian Universalist, I'm an expert in small group spiritual exploration, community building, ministry, media and congregational life. Looking to lead and grow a congregation, program, ministry, justice effort or other community group? Subscribe for practical tips and strategies for leaders from a growing range of faith traditions and industries.


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Welcome to the Peter Bowden show! Raised a Unitarian Universalist, I'm an expert in small group spiritual exploration, community building, ministry, media and congregational life. Looking to lead and grow a congregation, program, ministry, justice effort or other community group? Subscribe for practical tips and strategies for leaders from a growing range of faith traditions and industries.




(617) 744-9784


Holiday Outreach Strategy with Video Example Scripts

To inspire participation in congregational life this holiday season and New Year, go beyond announcements! Learn how to use simple video messages and optional ad campaigns to help newcomers and members alike choose connection, meaning and congregational life this season. See episode blog post for the Google Document with example scripts mentioned in this episode.


The AI Meaning Crisis and Congregations

An AI driven meaning crisis is looming. This live stream audio replay explores the coming A.I. meaning crisis for community clergy and congregations. With AI evolving at an exponential rate, artificial general intelligence (AGI) is coming fast. What happens when AI can do any job a human with a computer can do? That's not sci-fi, that's what companies are working on today. As these systems are able to perform the tasks previously preformed by humans, a ‘meaning crisis’ looms, challenging our notions of value and identity.


The NEW UU Growth Lab

Friends, I'm excited to introduce the new UU Growth Lab, a combined Unitarian Universalist learning community, training center, UU media studio, and ministry innovation laboratory. The world is changing at an accelerated rate. To grow the reach, impact, and membership of congregations, ministries, and justice efforts, I believe we need to develop ongoing experimentation, learning, and innovation as a core practice. Unitarian Universalist clergy, staff, and volunteer leaders, get your lab invite at Multifaith / Interfaith leaders: This lab project within my home tradition is designed to accelerate my learning, innovation, and strategy development. All of that will feed into my work with congregations at large. Speaking, seminars, retreats, and private trainings continue! Contact me here.


Tips on Rebuilding Programs in Congregations: Children, Youth, Families, Young Adults, Small Groups

Do you need to relaunch, rebuild or start a new program this fall? If so, this is for you! I share tips and strategies for rebuilding programs and ministries in this strategy session. I've worked across areas of congregational life and have started many programs over the years. This session shares successful approaches plus the latest from my hands-on work with congregations. Watch on YouTube at


"First visits" are now Online and On-Demand!

Growing your congregation requires that visitors have successful first visits. Today the "first visit" is the online and on-demand process people use to research, explorel, and discern if they want to connect with your congregation. The path to membership starts with the digital experience. We need to make sure it is a warm, friendly, relational, and helpful process. In this episode, getting oriented to this reality and some tips to get started! To get details on my new “Building a Digital Path to Membership” training, subscribe to my email list for congregational leaders at


Supercharge your congregation's map and review listings

Get my new free “Building a Digital Path to Membership” training when it is released. Subscribe to my email list for congregational leaders at I'll send you link to access training as soon as it is ready. Thanks! The first place many potential visitors see your congregation is on local MAP and REVIEW listings. If your listing doesn’t include compelling photos and great reviews, some people are going to pass based on that listing alone. Want more visitors? Use your congregation's Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Yelp listings to showcase the best of congregational life!


Budget Deficits? Communication Tips for Congregation

Are you vision-casting or manifesting a congregational death spiral? I’ve been reviewing congregational fundraising communications. Many communicators are so caught up in their challenges, the congregation’s vision has been lost. In this session, how gloom and doom communication can undermine your fundraising capacity especially with newomers and how you might approach it instead.


Hacks to Optimize Worship for Online Attention Spans

Join Peter Bowden for a strategy briefing with Q&A on ways congregations can optimize live-streamed worship services and posted worship recordings for online audiences. This episode features some vision content. You may watch this content on YouTube at


Weekly Worship Video Engagement Strategy

Peter Bowden shares how to use weekly video messages to engage your community and inspire participation in congregation life. This session focused on using video messages to engage people with weekly worship themes, though the strategy may be applied across aspects of congregational life.


Welcoming First Time Visitors Online with Video

Join Peter Bowden for a strategy session with Q&A on using VIDEO to help first-time visitors connect with your congregation. We’ll talk specifically about first-time visitor landing pages. When people visit your congregation onsite, you welcome them with human beings. Video lets us do the same online on-demand 24/7. Session duration: 30 minutes with Q&A.


"Meet the Minister" videos and the digital path to membership

Learn how "meet the minister" videos on congregational websites support the visitor research process and membership development. Have you ever heard someone say they chose to visit the congregation after meeting the minister somewhere? This happens all the time. After getting to know the minister at a wedding, funeral, protest, or elsewhere in the community, people feel comfortable visiting. Today, we can help people get to know the minister on-demand on your website, on social media, and if you choose, advertising. This is part of building a digital path into the life and heart of your congregation.


Rev. Mike O’Sullivan and Peter Bowden: A conversation on ministry, media, and video strategy

Join me, Peter Bowden, for a conversation on ministry, media, and video strategy with the Rev. Mike O'Sullivan of the Unitarian Church of Cork, Ireland. We connected early in the pandemic and have been watching each other's content online, but this is the first time we've spoken face-to-face. Time to talk strategy, insights from the pandemic, the practice of video making as ministry leaders, and more! Watch on YouTube at


The BIG Mistake Small Congregations Make That Keeps Visitors Away

Does your congregation have very few or no visitors? Talking with leadership teams in small congregations, I'm finding some are waiting for visitors to come BEFORE they establish or re-start their process for welcoming and connecting with visitors and COMMUNICATING what that visitor experience will be like. Don't wait for visitors to start. That's a huge mistake! Set a plan -- lock it down with your leadership! -- and communicate it on your website, social media, and emails so the next person to consider visiting feels comfortable doing so. This episode includes a simple process you may use onsite and online to connect with visitors. Learn more about Video Message Academy for Congregations


Congregations versus the algorithm!

Driven by TikTok's success, social media platforms are changing how they decide what content people see online. Instead of relying on an individual's stated preferences and social connections, they're shifting to feeding people content based on what they are already watching and engaging with. In this episode, I explain this huge shift, the implications, and strategy recommendations. Learn more about Video Message Academy for Congregations Get Peter's updates for congregations


Time for an Announcement Makeover

In this episode, how to write announcements that get results, including a worksheet download you may share with other leaders in your congregation. Get the worksheet at The average congregation is an announcement making machine! However, many are not getting results. There's a reason for this. Today, people are bombarded by information online. THEIR need to rapidly identify which content is relevant to THEM changes how WE need to write announcements. I’ll tell you how! Connect via Social Media


Three Easy Ways to Grow Your Congregation

Do you want to help your congregation grow? In this episode, I share the key to growing congregations today and three easy ways to help connect newcomers, build community, and grow your congregation's membership. Connect via Social Media

What is Digital Ministry? Marketing vs. Doing Ministry

For congregations to thrive in today's digitally oriented world, their leaders need to understand how DIGITAL MINISTRY differs from SOCIAL MEDIA and MARKETING. To illustrate, I explain how to shift from using social media to market an event where you'll be educating and orienting newcomers to using social media as the venue where you are educating and orienting them. That's a shift from PROMOTING your congregation's ministry using social media to using social media platforms to DO ministry.


Happy Fall! A quick podcast Update

Friends, Happy Fall! Before diving into our first regular episode of the Fall I wanted to share some personal and podcast updates. First, this has been a busy time for me working to help congregations and other organizations adapt to life online and now work on multi-platform and hybrid approaches. I’m grateful to be in the position to help leaders learn new skills, strategies, and be of service. That interrupted my regular routine of sharing public content, which I'm now excited to get...


Rev. Christana Wille McKnight's Ministry Playbook

In this interview with the Rev. Christana Wille McKnight, UPDATE: now former minister of First Parish in Taunton, MA, we discuss the principles and strategies that helped this Unitarian Universalist congregation move from being at risk of closing to becoming a thriving small congregation playing a major role in Taunton’s revitalization efforts. You may find a text copy of the "playbook" and the YouTube version of our interview at:


Video Ministry Academy Invitation

Learn more about Video Ministry Academy at Watch video of this episode on YouTube at Would you like to have a team from your congregation join our next Video Ministry Academy class? We start up the week of February 15. As we work to lead in a "digital-first” world with video dominating, this training shares skills and strategies to help promote engagement in congregational life and build a digital path to membership.