Vision-Inspired, Mission-Focused Ministry

Published on: March 20, 2017

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“… That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” —John 17:21-23 NIV

The focus of Jesus’, the Christ’s, ministry was to bring about an awakening and a realization of a divine/human potential that exists, largely unrecognized, in humanity. He expressed it as a vision for a transformed human experience of life. He referred to it as the Kingdom of Heaven/God. The emergence of this divine/human potential and its capacity to transform the human experience is, I believe, God answering the prayers and needs of humanity. Jesus’ vision of this transformed humanity (the universal Christ)—and the movement he started to bring it about—is the foundation of vision-inspired, mission-focused ministry.

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” —Colossians 1:27 NRSV

The ministry’s mission is to support the realization of this human/divine vision through the individual and collective spiritual awakening of ministry participants to their Oneness with God, others and all creation. It is an awakening of their divine/human potential—the Christ. Awakened, one experiences a divine sense of well-being that transcends the individual desire to find peace of mind, freedom from suffering, health, prosperity, dream fulfillment, etc., through temporary change in the outer conditions and circumstances of life.

It includes the individual and collective awakening to a corresponding sense of greater purpose. It is a divine calling that, when recognized and accepted, generates even greater experiences of the Oneness that is the Christ.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” —1 Corinthians 12:12 NRSV

That awakened experience of divine/human Oneness is both the core and the fulfillment of all human desire. I believe it to be the essence of all we ever wanted.

So, here’s the thing. Most people have, at some point in their life, secretly felt they were being called by God. “Could it be that I have some unique, special divine purpose in life something like Jesus had?” Most people quickly dismiss the thought as crazy. “How could that be?” one asks, “Especially given all the struggles, negative ideas, troubled relationships and personal issues that have dominated my mind and my life.”

Yet, the fact is, if you are reading this, you have most likely had that thought. I suggest that your secret thought of being called by God may be the truest idea that has ever come into your mind. I am convinced that dismissing it will prevent you from experiencing your truest nature, your divine potential.

 

Jesus’ Divine Calling

Jesus knew, at the depth of his being, that he had a divine calling. It was to initiate a movement that would call all of humanity to spiritually awaken to its Oneness with God, each other and all creation. It is the one movement that has the potential to transcend the dominating human ego and vastly reduce the suffering human beings inflict on themselves and each other. It is a humanity-wide movement that will not only reduce suffering but will enhance the human capacity to create ever-new expressions of truth, beauty and goodness in life.

He referred to this human future as the Kingdom of Heaven/God. And, I believe he knew it was essential—critical—for the long-term sustainability of the human race. If humanity does not awaken and collectively choose this future, the alternative would be a human created hell on earth generated by the separation based fears that have historically dominated and sabotaged much of humanity’s best efforts.

This calling also existed (although initially unrecognized) in those who became his disciples. This movement began with Jesus helping his disciples recognize their own calling. He saw the divine, Christ potential in them even though they did not recognize it in themselves. And, that, I believe, is what drew them to him. It is the same Christ potential that exists (though largely unrecognized) in many if not most human beings today. He simply provided the leadership his future disciples needed in order for them to recognize their own deep spiritual calling. Their calling was not something different than his. It was the divine calling for humanity to spiritually awaken to its Oneness with God, each other and all creation. This potential simply needed to be awakened, recognized and accepted.

 

Supporting Humanity in Answering the Call

Thinking and praying about it from this perspective, it is easy to see that nothing is more important or more promising for humanity. Thus, supporting an ever-growing number of people in recognizing and answering this calling—in realizing their Christ potential—is what vision-inspired, mission-focused ministry is about.

The Divine/Human Vision:
A world transformed through the growing movement of shared spiritual awakening.

The Divine/Human Mission:
To advance the movement that calls humanity to spiritually awaken to its Oneness with God, each other and all creation.

There are three essential components for vision-inspired, mission-focused ministry.

1. The first component is effective, spiritually awakened, inspired leadership.

Because this [vision-mission] movement is in its early stages, it requires leadership much like what Jesus provided. It requires leaders who are awakened to and developing their individual Christ nature. They are leaders who fully recognize how supporting the awakening of the Christ potential in others is crucial for their own ongoing awakening. They are leaders who can keep the ministry and its participants focused on its vision and mission. This approach to ministry requires leaders that can support this awakening in a growing number of people as Jesus did with his disciples and followers. These are leaders who can see the divine potential in others in ways that help others see it in themselves. This approach to ministry requires leaders who can help others understand that supporting the movement’s growth is required of all who want to continue developing their divine potential. They are leaders who know the value of shared leadership and seek to expand leadership opportunities. And, this is leadership that can effectively and continuously bring people together in the shared effort of mission fulfillment. Jesus was truly the Way Shower regarding spiritual leadership.

2. The second component is a ministry spiritual community that provides support for the awakening and development of the human/divine potential in those it serves.

Through classes, workshops, services, small groups, counseling, etc., the ministry creates opportunities for people to awaken and develop their Christ potential so that it can be expressed in every aspect of their lives. Besides personal spiritual growth and development, this organizational structure provides many opportunities for people to be in spiritually supportive community with each other. It also provides ways for people to realize how essential it is to find meaningful, intentional engagement in the ministry’s mission of advancing the movement.

3. The third component is a mission fulfillment organizational structure.

In order to further develop one’s individual, divine potential, every person in the ministry realizes that it is essential to support the ministry’s mission of advancing the movement through giving of their time, talent and treasure in support of the ministry and its mission fulfillment initiatives. For some it will be a life calling. For others, it will be a dedication of 10% of their time, talent and treasure to the ministry’s mission. For most it will be somewhere in between. Some examples of organized mission fulfillment initiatives are spiritual education, small group ministry, youth and family ministry, community service, ministry administration, outreach (marketing), social justice, environmental sustainability, resource development, prayer ministry, chaplaincy, alternative healing, celebration services, community relations, communication, social media. The potential for new initiatives is open-ended and unlimited. Mission fulfillment teams are made up of individuals who are inspired by the vision and mission. The growth in mission fulfillment participation creates unlimited opportunities for leadership development, community and meaningful participation in the mission of advancing the movement.

Jesus is quoted in John 14:12 (NIV) as saying, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Wasn’t Jesus’ real work initiating the movement that is calling humanity to spiritually awaken to its Oneness with God, each other and all creation? And, who knows what kind of seeming miraculous things will come from that.

In the world today we can do the movement work Jesus did and we can do even greater work as well through our ministries. It’s our future if we choose it and if we are effective at … well, you guessed it … “advancing the movement.”

 

Barry Vennard

Rev Barry Vennard is a Unity minister, a transitional ministry specialist, peaceworker and author. Barry is available to lead workshops and retreats based on his book, Stepping Through the Narrow Gate: Personal Transformation Through Evolutionary Spirituality.


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