Future Planning 1 Guide

Published on: September 2, 2015

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Are you looking for proven ways that will allow your ministry to create an inspiring future? Are you interested in engaging spiritual community members in focusing on their shared future and serving in meaningful ways that support collective dreams becoming realities?

The Future Planning 1 and 2 Guides are an aggregate of best practices designed to support any size ministry in creating a future plan together. (This guide is part of our Leadership and Ministry Development Resource series.)

The intention of these guides is to provide an integrative, inclusive and conscious process that generates a sense of deep connection for your members and an exciting, motivating plan for the future of your spiritual community.

A future plan is the result of a process to identify: (1) your present situation, (2) your driving vision, mission and core values, (3) the intended future outcomes and (4) the goals and steps to achieve these outcomes.

A ministry that is growing, and hopes to sustain growth, needs a set of strategies to guide it. This sets a common intention for your future and allows for program development and building a shared understanding of the steps and roles required to achieve the desired outcomes.


Future planning can be engaging, meaningful and powerful. When it is well-managed, the process and results can be life-changing for a ministry and its membership. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Future planning is a tool you can use to change from “reactive to creative.” You plan and design the future. It stimulates creative thinking about the future of your ministry.
  • It is a way to foster team building by using an inclusive process. All the stakeholders are involved in many of the steps of the planning process, which allows everyone to be heard. The result is a greater acceptance and ownership of the final result.
  • Future planning can:
    • Include recent research on the Millennial generation and other spiritual seekers.
    • Stimulate ingenuity and new approaches.
    • Increase everyone’s investment in the ministry’s future.
    • Develop a vision that inspires everyone.
    • Clarify values that guide decisions and behavior.
    • Provide a framework for decisions.
    • Align the ministry’s vision, mission, values and actions.
    • Guide teams in their planning and actions.
    • Allow the spiritual community to observe and celebrate progress.

While the ultimate goal of the future planning process is to develop a plan, the real value of the exercise often lies in the process itself. It engages stakeholders in the ministry by providing the opportunity to learn more about the ministry, to share their perceptions of its current circumstances, and to discuss critical issues affecting the community in the future. The process should be designed to generate decisions arrived at by consensus. This approach encourages key stakeholders to believe in the ministry’s vision of the future and increase their commitment to achieving it.

Cover_FuturePlan1_JournalThe Future Planning 1 Guide provides:

  • A clear overview of the future planning process.
  • Step-by-step guidance.
  • Specific examples from successful experiences in the field-testing ministries.
  • Resources that support you as you engage in the process.

The Future Planning 1 Guide is designed to support you in identifying the present (what is now). The guide gives guidance for two primary tasks:

  1. To hold conscious conversations that engage the whole community. These conversations aid in discovering what is important and valued about your spiritual community and what would help members feel more connected.
  2. Assessing what the current state of your ministry is.

Both yield vital information for creating a future plan.

Working with this guide and resources can revitalize and focus your ministry as members come together to create and implement the future plan with opportunities to grow, contribute and serve in meaningful ways.

Read the related articles about the Leadership and Ministry Development Resource Guides, the Spiritual Gifts Discovery Facilitator’s Guide, the Sacred Service Ministry Guide, the Emotional and Spiritual Development Guide, and the Leadership Development Guide.


How Can UWM Members Access the Guides?

Note:  These guides are free to Unity ministers and ministries as a membership benefit and as a thank-you for your support to UWM. Others outside Unity are welcome to visit our Shop to purchase these ministry-enhancing items.

UWM members (ministers and ministries) are welcome to watch this video which explains how to access the guides.



Want support as you work with these guides? Contact us.
Questions? Email or call us 816.524.7414.


Deborah Frownfelter

Rev Deborah Frownfelter serves as Executive Director of Visionary Research, Development and Training at UWM and supervised the field-testing process as well as co-authored most of the Leadership and Ministry Development Resource Guides.

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