Peter Bowden

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My work is focused on helping leaders create stronger organizations - especially congregations --  through digital and face-to-face connecting strategies.  That's right, we're taking social media, small groups, and everything in-between!  

Today I work with congregational, nonprofit, and justice leaders across the United States through online training and remote coaching. 

A little bit more on my background below.

Thanks for being here. 
Peter Bowden

A little on my background

Raised a Unitarian Universalist, I grew up discussing big questions, from world religions and the mysteries of the universe to present day social justice issues. When I was in my 20’s, our denomination didn’t have strong models for gathering in small groups. Their evolution towards religious pluralism didn’t include a strong group model for bringing their diverse members and friends together. With congregation’s filled with theists, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Pagans, Jews, Muslims, and every spiritual hybrid imaginable, there was a huge need for a more open and engaging group model.

I helped develop just such a model working with our youth group.  We grew from 8 teenagers to 60+ by grounding our program in small group process, leadership development, and an emergent content curriculum.

A Small Group Revolution

As we explored life issues, world religions, and spiritual questions I found myself not just wanting to offer that experience for teens, I wanted a similar group for adults.  I continued my research, including connecting with clergy and lay leaders across the United States just starting similar work.   

In 2001, I launched the UU Small Group Ministry Network, a website dedicated to sharing resources on leading group-based programs.  That helped spark a small group revolution!  It was the only website within my denomination and very soon I was answer questions and advising congregations across the country.

To do this work long term, I decided I needed to work with a team.  We re-launched the network in 2004 as a national organization with a membership program.  We very successfully promoted and supported the development of small groups in our congregations across the country.  

Over time this developed into a national consulting and training practice with a focus on small groups, team building, community building, leadership development, and organization health.

A Side of Television

While developing this practice, I worked as a children’s television producer making educational content for many of the top nationally syndicated children’s programs on PBS.  I've continued to work periodically on related projects, though now I'm mostly retired from this work. To date I've produced educational content for Emmy Award-winning broadcast and web-based programs including The Curious George show, Peep and the Big Wide World, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, Martha Speaks, Arthur, Plum Landing, Design Squad Nation, and Pinkalicious & Peterrific.

Youtube Changes Everything

In 2007, after the launch of  Youtube, I chose to study digital media through Boston University instead of going to seminary.  At that point I recognized that all congregations were going to be in the media business.  While I had been working with congregations and media separately, my media background became increasingly relevant to congregational life.

From Small Groups to Social Media

When social media exploded, suddenly the web became about relationship.  This brought my community building and media work together. Over time, my work has expanded from small groups and community building to looking at how our technology is changing human behavior.

Today

As I said at the top, today my work is focused on helping leaders create stronger communities through digital and face-to-face connecting strategies.  

Raised in congregations, a ministry leader my entire adult life, married to a minister, a professional congregational consultant -- I live and breathe congregational life.   

What about you?  I look forward to getting to know you through my training programs.   

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