Experiencing Transformation: Lessons We’ve Learned

Published on: June 1, 2011

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Are You Ready to Transform?

Transformation in the world happens when people are healed and start investing in other people. So, it may not surprise you that our Transformation Experience (TE) Pilot Program communities quickly recognized the importance of supporting their leaders in personal spiritual maturity before diving into the deep end of the tasks necessary to transform a church culture. The most powerful contributor to success in any positive, structured change is paying homage to who you are “being” in the experience, not just focusing on “doing” the activities required. The awareness that inspires a community to embody and reward the deep meaning of their core values is a critical foundation for the biggest shifts to occur. That’s easier said than done, but you can’t skip this step and expect sustainable growth.

Whether you are considering the Transformation Experience for your ministry or just knowing that your community is ready to take its own next step into fuller potential, you’ll benefit from this advice we’ve collected from your colleagues in the field. Truth is: you’re in transformation whether you’ve formalized the process or not. Nothing is static. We are either in growth or decline at all times. So, while we may take comfort in the familiarity of our experience in our spiritual community, it’s important to keep asking: Are we thriving or surviving? You don’t have to look far for evidence of either. The good news is that you have a choice.

We want to share some really helpful tips from those ministries currently navigating the excitement and challenges of their own transformation:

• Don’t expect instant results—deep shifts often take place disguised as chaos and rarely happen on your timeline.

• While the senior minister remains responsible for all aspects of his or her ministry—s/he needn’t do everything. As s/he empowers others, opportunities open for people to step into service at all levels of the ministry.

• As Above/So Below—acknowledge the role of all leaders to develop themselves both spiritually and professionally in order to hold a higher resonance field for the whole.

• Over-communicate—to everyone about everything—at multiple times and in different ways. Just because you said it doesn’t mean they got it!

• Holding leaders accountable for raising the “collective consciousness” allows everyone to be spiritually nourished in the community, rather than being focused on the burdens of managing the work.

• Deeply examine the stories you tell yourself about how to run a ministry and what’s possible for your community. How accurate are they?

• Make use of all the tools available to you. Such as Art & Practice of Unity With Nothing and No One Against You, etc.

• Although significant change happens from the top, be sure to get buy-in from the congregation if you expect global support.

• Rather than focus on what needs to be fixed, soar with your vision and build from there (think Appreciative Inquiry).

• Finally, don’t try to do this alone! There is something about an outside influence—someone who can be part of the process without becoming enmeshed—that becomes a powerful agent for change. Unity Worldwide Ministries has a number of trained consultant guides to support you through any shift you are seeking to make after the conclusion of the Pilot Program.

If the concept of taking on anything else (on top of “doing church”) is feeling a little overwhelming right now, consider starting small and taking on one developmental shift at a time. In assessing where you are and where you want to go, honor the things that you’re doing well. Look for the good and celebrate often! Yet always stay open to even greater possibility. The pay-off for conscious growth will reveal itself as a more engaged, committed community, enhanced relationships with one another and dynamic, inspired leadership. It will no longer be a question of how to market your spiritual community for broader appeal because people will seek you out with one intention: to “have what you’re having.” Thriving ministries are the direct result of making the decision to be one, then committing to a mindful process toward that shift.

James Trapp has a vision for the Unity movement—to become universally recognized and for our principles to reach out and heal the planet. There has never been a time in Earth’s history when the Unity message has been more important. Transforming yourself and your ministry is no longer optional, because transformation isn’t an event or a program—it’s a way of being. It’s a lifestyle. It’s our future. This is the time….and we are the Ones!


Cyndi Swall

Life-long Unity member, Leadership Coach and Bliss Mentor. Highly requested keynote speaker, Cyndi also works with Unity boards, UWM and churches nationwide.

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