Gathering multiple communities together for spiritual education, training and fellowship enriches each person and blesses each individual congregation mightily. I have had the pleasure of presenting my “Inclusive Ministry” leadership training at many Unity communities over the years and have felt blessed each and every time. I must admit, however, that the most enriching experiences I have had with this training have been when leaders from several different ministries come together for the day to learn, share and grow in community.
The very moment participants begin to arrive there is a palpable sense of excitement in the air and I delight every time to watch connections being made. Over by the coffee and donuts, I see Sharon and Angela, who discover that they both serve their respective communities as youth education directors and immediately begin a rich and beautiful dialogue about the joys and challenges of their work. Out in the foyer, Dan is talking to Gary about the repair work that is happening in the ceiling and asking for a reference for a contractor because similar work is needed in his church. In the prayer room, chaplains from three different churches are connected in a circle, each speaking prayers and blessings for one another’s ministries.
While our Unity movement is beautifully diverse in many ways, there are also so many things that we share and countless ways that we can support and learn from each other. During the trainings I intentionally create heterogeneous groups that contain members from different communities and invite them to share concerns, ideas and “best practices” on topics such as Sunday worship, youth ministry, volunteer recruitment, marketing and raising prosperity consciousness. All over the room I hear, “That’s a great idea!” “Sure, I would be happy to send you that resource.” “Maybe we should co-sponsor and co-promote an event like that.” “We have been wanting to implement a program like that but never knew where to start until hearing your ideas today.”
When we come together, suddenly everyone has more resources, more support, more ideas and more excitement. I have also seen this type of gathering produce long-term friendships, prayer partnerships and cooperative relationships between ministries. This concept can be taken to an even deeper level by reaching out and co-creating experiences with other like-minded, non-Unity communities in your area. The possibilities for connection are endless and there is truly no limit to the blessings that might unfold.