The Trinity of Excellence

Published on: December 1, 2012

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All human beings and organizations have a consciousness through which we live and move and have our being. In Unity, we teach and believe in the holy metaphysical trinity: Mind, Idea and Expression. How can we map this powerful teaching onto how we operate our ministries to grow in consciousness and enhance our overall effectiveness?

We believe that Mind represents the Mind of God, the creator of all things. Idea represents our individual connection to the Mind of God, where we access God through our inspired ideas. Expression represents what we choose to do with our life, how we live and move and have our being. This is the holy trinity inside of which each human being has the opportunity to grow in consciousness back to the level of divinity from which we came.

TrinityOfExcellenceIn order to begin addressing excellence in ministry we must first define what this means. I view excellence or mastery in ministry—or in anything for that matter—as performing at the highest level on the physical and spiritual plane, while operating with high level of consciousness. This model borrows from the metaphysical trinity as Mind represents the umbrella of consciousness in which we live, Idea represents our work on the ethereal plane and Expression represents our work on the physical plane. Let’s look at what this means more specifically.

Our ministries are called to be Spirit-filled organizations where people experience their Christ-essence. How does leadership create an excellent organization so that the operation of the ministry does not impede the experience people seek within our centers? This occurs as ministries master the Trinity of Excellence.

The Trinity of Excellence is a model that ministers, boards, ministry staff and lay leaders can employ to move through the day-to-day experience of creating the ministry with greater effectiveness. The three components of the trinity are: Physical Plane, Ethereal Plane and Consciousness. In order for ministries to thrive, they need to be operating optimally in each of these three areas.

Physical Plane

Any organization committed to excellence must demonstrate skills and structures managing the physical or earth plane. These items include a vast array of areas including:

  • Fiscal management
  • Policies and procedures
  • Organizational goals
  • Physical plant maintenance and considerations
  • Communication (internal board/staff, internal board/staff to congregation and vice versa, external to the greater community)

These are the areas that ministries must address in order to remain viable and to thrive. There lies a depth and breadth of skill and knowledge needed to fulfill each of these with excellence. In other words, no one person can possibly manage all of the earth-plane considerations to create a successful organization.

Ethereal Plane

Ministries are unique organizations that seek to create sacred spaces and experiences where people can come together to worship, grow, share community and celebrate God’s work in their lives and in the world. The elements on the ethereal plane are those things that link us with God, give us direction and depth of meaning. They are as follows:

  • Worship
  • Core values
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Wellbeing
  • Balance
  • Emotion


All of these elements must be held in the field of consciousness. One could argue that all problems in ministry are problems in consciousness. Let’s look at how levels of consciousness impact the experience of both the physical and ethereal plane.

When organizations or people are operating at the lower levels of consciousness, it is characterized by the following:

  • Struggle
  • Strife
  • Lack
  • Conflict
  • Hostility
  • Blame
  • Lack of transparency
  • Overwhelm

This manifests in ministries in a myriad of ways including disharmony among board, staff and congregation, lack of fiscal maturity, constant challenges with physical plant issues and subsequent stress associated with it, lack of clarity, chronic overwhelm and burnout of staff and ministers.

As ministries mature in consciousness, different experiences manifest. What one can see within the ministry is often:

  • Team formation to aid in operations
  • Greater clarity of roles
  • Greater sense of internal cohesion
  • Goals begin taking shape around a shared purpose
  • Hard work by key players and frequent overwhelm
  • Commitment to a common aim
  • Enjoyment of the creation of the ministry
  • Cohesive communication

At the higher levels of consciousness, the following elements get manifested inside the organization:

  • Clear goals derived from a solid vision
  • Firmly established mission that guides the direction of the ministry
  • Conflict resolved with greater alacrity and ease
  • Financial maturity whether there are adequate means or not
  • Joy is present in operations and worship services
  • Service teams provide the majority of church operations
  • Values are firmly in place and shared by all
  • Ease has replaced overwhelm
  • Coherent, congruent, transparent communication


Mastering the Trinity of Excellence takes years, perhaps even the lifetime of the ministry, to attain. These are not so much offered as a goal to achieve, but as a framework for growth and discussion.

When mastery is present on ethereal and physical planes, it is what I call “The Sweet Spot” of ministry. It is reflective of the 5th Unity Principle: It is not enough to know the truth; we must demonstrate truth principle in our lives. What we must begin to grapple with in our organizations and in our ministries is that we must celebrate our growth, but demand excellence in all ways.

Our ministries will awaken humanity to its divinity as we do so within our own walls. We can elevate our consciousness as an organization by asking compelling questions together. Such questions might be: How have we demonstrated our mission, vision and values this week? What concrete ways would people know that we are walking our talk? What does our response to this circumstance say about our level of consciousness? And if we were coming from a higher Christ consciousness, how would we now respond?

We must also recognize the degree to which our chronic overwhelm is counter to creating our ministries in the highest Christ consciousness. Somehow I can’t imagine Jesus was running around wondering how he was going to do all of these teachings and healings, and there is no reason for us to be doing so either. When we operate our ministries from the Trinity of Excellence, we can begin thinking and organizing our ministries with greater clarity, recognizing that no matter how big or how small the congregation may be, it requires more than one minister to care for the congregation and the organization. These are two separate elements of any ministry that require skill, consciousness and attention. No one person can, or should, do this all.

Use this model as a starting point with your ministry leaders today. Assess your competence and mastery on each of these three levels: the physical, the ethereal and in your organizational consciousness. You will begin seeing with new eyes, creating new pathways to growth and fulfillment for your leaders and for those you serve.

Jackie Woodside

Jackie Woodside is a certified professional coach who frequently speaks and offers training inside the Unity movement. She brings expertise in helping individuals and organizations apply spiritual principles to develop mastery on the spiritual and physical planes.

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