Welcome to Unity Worldwide Ministries’ learning and growing edge in communication, Unity Leaders Journal! I recently read a quote from Olympic coach Helmut Handschuh, “The moment you lose your ability to learn, you lose your ability to succeed.” Helmut would watch Olympic candidates to see how open they were to learning before he would accept them as his students. How open we are to learning also affects our future possibilities. As Unity leaders and ministries, are we open to listening, questing, and learning new ways of doing things—including picking up new skills and developing our abilities?
This journal offers our Unity movement one such possibility to learn and grow and do things in a new and evolving way. During the next quarter (from March through May), we’re delighted to share that the posts to this journal will be focused on aspects of growth as individuals and as spiritual communities. We’ll be looking at growth in supporting our youth, working with those in our ministry, growing our congregations, caring for our elderly and our Earth, and exploring social media. Growing as individuals is also important, so we’ll be exploring how we dream, listen, learn, converse and support one another. It promises to be a growth-oriented spring!
Challenge Brings Opportunity
So what brought us here? Several years ago Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) shifted our print magazine, Unity Leaders Magazine, to an online publication that was available as a (rather large) pdf on our website. Going electronic trimmed $32,000 from the UWM annual budget and also helped to save trees, which was a significant step in growth for our organization both fiscally and environmentally. This step required that we learn new ways of doing things in order to continue serving our leaders. Since that time, we continued developing quality quarterly issues focused on our mission of supporting thriving Unity leaders and ministries with timely and practical information.
Each quarter we would research, collaborate and recruit articles that we prayed would be meaningful for our readers. And when it came time to publish, I always had a feeling there had to be a better way to share the content so that people could access it more easily. We developed a way to link each article with our Facebook posts and retain the conversation. This was a great next step, but not ideal in how it functioned.
Soon thereafter a Divine Idea arose from our recently hired media specialist, Jacquie Lenati. We could create an online blog that would allow our content to be available from an online search, allowing us to expand our readership while also providing a forum for leaders to discuss the ideas and continue to build on them with their wisdom.
What a great idea! I just love greater effectiveness in reaching those whom we’re striving to serve. As we all know, great ideas take time and effort to bring into manifestation. Over the next five months our team met weekly, learning and growing as we answered every question that arose to create this journal.
Being Comfortable with Uncertainty
Part of growing is being comfortable with not knowing, and being willing to be in the place of not knowing as you explore what is possible. It becomes easier to walk the path of the unknown if you venture into it with a skilled and trusted crew. Luckily, we have such a crew at UWM. I must take a moment to thank our dedicated and talented Unity Leaders Journal team for their unending quest to solve all issues and play their part in creating this format–truly it was a team approach with each playing his or her part: Andrew Mayes (seemingly endless technical development and solution sourcing), Joanna Carrell (graphic layout, content upload, overall support), Jacquie Lenati (content upload, platform research and development) and Bernadette Swanson (adjusting the way we do everything, employing a new system and willingly growing into it). A heartfelt thanks coupled with sincere reverence to each of you for your dedication, skills and talents!
Continuing to Grow
Spiritual growth is of great importance to us as Unity leaders, as supporting others’ growth is what we have been called by Spirit to do. The words “grow,” “growth,” “learn” and their derivatives can be found in the Bible about 350 times. In Mark 8:18, Jesus is noted to have said, ‟Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?” I believe that he, too, like Helmut Handschuh, was seeing who was open to learning and growing and actively coaching those who were receptive.
As we seek to support others in their process to grow, we benefit in also asking if we as individuals are continuing to grow. Am I a good learner? Do keen learners surround me? Do I pick up new skills easily and readily? Do I question myself and others freely, and strive to find out what’s real? Can I take myself lightly and use criticism as feedback to make myself better and better?
Knowing so many amazing Unity leaders, I would wager that the answers to the questions above are usually affirmative. And yet I know as long as we’re alive, there are always new horizons beckoning us to explore. We are responsible for our continued learning and success. Knowing our learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, etc.) can help us to explore in ways that are best suited to our growth. Another helpful approach is examining what we think we know by making a list of our assumptions and then actively questioning whether they are holding us back or propelling us forward. Surrounding ourselves with other active and skilled learners will advance us along the path.
Growing in Unity
It is our prayer that you will be blessed by this new format, that you will enter into the discussion and share your wisdom, helping to evolve and grow our Unity movement. It is our prayer that you realize that you walk this journey of serving with a trusted crew of fellow Unity leaders near and far who share your call to serve. We hope you know that we, at the central support office, are part of your team and we remain dedicated to our mission to serve you with the resources that we are given to the very best of our ability. Together we remain open to learning and growing, trusting Spirit to guide us in achieving our ultimate soul-fulfilling success.