As a ministry leader are you seeking what will be of maximum service and benefit to your ministry? Do you ponder what will strengthen, revitalize, lift up and mature your community? Do you find yourself asking, “What are the next steps to take to embrace our potential, authentically and powerfully, as individuals and as a spiritual community?”
Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) seeks to support your desire for maximum impact in your community and to further our collective mission of “advancing the movement of spiritual awakening and transformation through Unity, a positive path for spiritual living.” In support of your efforts, you can now access seven turnkey, free to UWM members (Unity ministers and ministries), electronically downloadable guides focused on key areas of ministry and leadership development. These guides focus on:
- Welcoming System
- Spiritual Gifts Discovery
- Sacred Service Ministry (volunteers)
- Emotional and Spiritual Development
- Leadership Development
- Future Planning 1 (benefits, process, planning, organization, identifying the present)
- Future Planning 2 (setting the future direction; implementing; keeping the vision, mission, core values and action plan alive)
How Will the Guides Benefit Your Ministry?
The guides provide a clear overview of each process based on best practices designed to support any-sized ministry. They provide step-by-step guidance and specific examples from field-testing Unity ministries who have successfully employed the practices. Together these guides are a comprehensive plan and whole systems approach to help your ministry be relevant and vital in today’s world and to help you fulfill your mission.
Each guide is specifically designed to help a Unity leaders identify:
- best practices
- focus on practices you want to incorporate
- identify specific steps to implement them
The size and maturity of your ministry may dictate which components you choose and how long it will take to implement the process steps in your community.
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.
How the Guides Began
Unity Worldwide Ministries’ board and leaders asked how we could support Unity leaders in moving forward. A large majority requested leadership and ministry development, especially road-maps that would guide them from where they were to their next phases of development. Based on these requests, UWM researched leading-edge ministry practices from many sources and integrated the wisdom and divine consciousness of the Unity movement. With the help of a large grant from the John Templeton Foundation, we worked with a group of Unity leaders and ministries in a pilot program to field-test these leading-edge practices.
These resource guides are based on:
- Input and recommendations from ministerial and lay leaders in Unity and other New Thought movements
- Unity field-testing ministries
- Research and analysis of best practices from wide-ranging sources and denominations
- The Thriving Ministry Model™
Each guide will be featured in an article in Unity Leaders Journal. Here is the first:
Welcoming System Guide
The Welcoming System Guide serves to support you in incorporating the best standards of practice for a welcoming system. The intention of this guide is to provide an integrative, inclusive and conscious process that generates a sense of deep connection for the first-time guest and a sense that they will be supported on their spiritual journey and given opportunities to grow, to contribute and to serve in a meaningful way. Expect this guide to both validate what you are already doing and shake up your thinking with new research and practices. As times and people evolve, new approaches may be required.
Your welcoming system is more than a program, it is also a consciousness held within the spiritual community as they greet and receive people into your ministry. It is the entry point into an integral, whole systems plan of development that consciously and systematically unfolds spiritual and emotional maturity within the seeker and leads them into service and membership.
Those researching religious and spiritual trends in today’s U.S. culture indicate that the primary group of guests in our spiritual communities will be those who identify themselves as spiritual but not religious and those who are religious but not currently attending a spiritual community. Hospitality or “welcoming” is cited as the easiest way to attract the spiritual but not religious and the religious but unchurched. The primary purpose of welcoming, however, is not to get people to come back (if it is, they will sense this), but rather to love them and to serve them which can result in continued attendance.
Another key group of first-time guests is the 18- to 35-year-old group, commonly referred to as the Millennial Generation. The Barna Group states: “The first factor that will engage Millennials in a ministry is as simple as it is integral: relationships.” Your welcoming system will assist in demonstrating your openness to the desires and interests of this significant population group. This guide includes simple practices found to be successful with Millennials.
An intentional welcoming system creates effective pathways for a wide range of people to grow into relationship with your spiritual community rather than leaving it up to chance. It involves intentionally finding ways for any guest to feel welcome and want to return again and again.
Much effort has been put forth in researching the essential elements underlying a comprehensive and effective welcoming system. This guide breaks down the entirety of the program into three phases or implementation components:
- Phase One – phase one questionnaire, facility assessment, welcoming packet, strengthening the usher/greeter teams, language, acknowledging guests and follow-up
- Phase Two – phase two questionnaire, linking to mission/vision/core values, team roles and accountabilities, training, Sunday service practices, integrating, follow-up, greater involvement in community
- Phase Three – phase three questionnaire, enhancing your program/connection, Millennials, strengthening communications, sacred service, tracking/review/evaluation, first-level membership, creating a culture of recommending, be the welcome
It is likely that your ministry already has some or even many of the elements of the Welcoming System. This implementation guide will assist you in aligning your current system with “best practices” and in developing a system that serves your community in increasingly supportive ways.
The complexity of your Welcoming System will ultimately depend upon many factors, including the size of your ministry. Each phase in this guide represents a benchmark of excellence in system development, moving from simple (Phase One) to deeper (Phase Three).
This new Welcoming System Guide goes far beyond the first version of the guide available since 2012. We invite you to check it out!