Is Cultural Change Needed?

Published on: May 23, 2016

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One of the primary purposes of the minister/board/membership organizational structure in Unity is to clearly define the allocation of decision-making responsibility and authority within the spiritual community. The ministry’s bylaws and policies establish relationships within the ministry community that are power defining; i.e. minister’s power, board’s power, power of members, staff, etc. This structure is foundational to the current culture of Unity ministries.

Under stress, this structure often generates increased anxiety and competition within the relationships of community members and leaders around issues of power, influence and control. That anxiety-based competition can and often does lead to divisive conflict, disillusionment and decline.

The relationships that emerge in a truly “mission-focused ministry” are much less power-oriented as people join with each other in various mission-focused activities and efforts. Their motivation is a deeply felt commitment to this greater, divinely inspired mission. Some form of the following mission works for this. “Mission: To advance the Unity movement that calls humanity to spiritually awaken to its Oneness with God, each other and all creation.” These mission-focused relationships call forth more of the divine nature—the true Christ or the Higher-self nature—that exists as potential in every human being. This is further supported by an organizational structure that focuses on mission fulfillment initiatives.

The desire for organizational power and control declines as the desire to genuinely express one’s Christ/divine/spiritual/higher nature through active participation and/or support of the mission of the ministry increases. Mutual appreciation and support become an even greater influence on relationships in the ministry.

Fundamental to this cultural change in Unity and the effectiveness of mission-focused ministry is leadership–usually ministerial–that can continually deliver a message that awakens people to this understanding and this experience of the Christ. The message emphasizes that the greater transformative power of the Christ comes through the shared spiritual awakening experience and the relationships it creates.

This message says that God’s answer to the prayers and needs of humanity is the Christ that is emerging through the shared, spiritually-awakened relationships human beings are capable of having with each other and all creation. It is a choice we are called to consciously make. Unity ministries should be leaders in the intentional effort to support more and more human beings making that choice and engaging in the advancement of this movement.

Related articles

Focus on “Why” for Unity
Mission-Focused Unity Ministry

Barry Vennard
Rev Barry Vennard is a Unity minister, a transitional ministry specialist, peaceworker and author. Barry is available to lead workshops and retreats based on his book, Stepping Through the Narrow Gate: Personal Transformation Through Evolutionary Spirituality.

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  • bgandl

    What we are being asked to do here is to replace our congregationally-based mission statements, which have been organically created out of the group consciousness of each center, with a single mission statement imposed from the top down from outside the center. How would that be that empowering to any congregation?

  • Marty Newman

    Thanks Barry for this article. There is so much misunderstanding around this issue and it is important for ministers and ministries to begin grasping these concepts if we are going to thrive as congregations and a movement.