The Rule of Five: A Guide to Starting a New Group, Project, or Activity at Saltwater Church

What is the “The Rule of Five” at Saltwater Church?

The “Rule of Five” is the name of a board policy at Saltwater Church that was created to encourage the creation of new groups, activities, projects, or ministries that may be of interest to Saltwater Church members or that may serve the wider world.

Any individual may form a new group within the church as long as (1) the group’s general purpose is in alignment with the mission, vision, and values of the church, and (2) there are at least five church members who are interested in actively organizing and participating in the group.

What kind of groups can be started?

Groups might include any of the following kinds…

  • Spiritual practice groups (for example, a Tai Chi group)
  • Study groups (for example, a group that wanted to read and discuss books on living more simply)
  • Social groups (for example, a hiking group or a church softball team)
  • Support groups (for example, a group for Unitarian Universalists who like to wear kilts)
  • Service or advocacy groups (for example, a group that wanted to help build houses with Habitat for Humanity or a group that wanted to advocate for campaign finance reform)

Does a group have to be an on-going group?

No, a group might be started to organize a one-time event or participation in a short-term activity, such as a bringing a guest speaker to the church, having a karaoke party, hosting a candidate’s forum before an election, or organizing church participation in a community clean-up day.

What are the specific steps to forming a new group?

1. Talk to the minister about the possibility of beginning a new group.

2. Publicize your interest in starting a new group within the congregation. Find at least five church members who are interested in being on the group’s organizing team.

3. Fill out the “Group Application Form”  (attached at the bottom of this document as a PDF file) and submit it to minister for approval. Before approving a new group, the minister may consult with the appropriate ministry team. For example, the minister may consult with the Social Justice team before approving a new service or advocacy group.

Why is it necessary to have five people to start a new group? Why can’t an individual start a new group?

Requiring five people makes sure there is enough interest in a group from its beginning stages. It also encourages people to work together and share the task of organizing a group instead of having a smaller number of people do everything and burn out. It also increases the possibility that a group will continue even after its initial leader steps down from leading the group.


Group Application Form.pdf73.85 KB