The Unity Identity Project has revealed tantalizing information about how we are and can be perceived by prospective Unity members. We are told there are some 50 million “Cultural Creatives” in the United States who could identify with Unity—if they knew about us—because their values are very similar to those we teach. Every ministry is surrounded by them! We estimate that in our five-mile service area in northwest Denver there are about 40,000 people who fit the Cultural Creatives’ profile. Many of them are looking for a spiritual community that shares their values. Our ongoing small group ministry, Spirit Circles, is a perfect way to engage them. But how do we connect with them?
Meetup.com is an Internet-based social network that matches individuals with groups that share similar interests. We listed Spirit Circles on withmeetup.com in mid-December 2010, with our stated interests of “spiritual exploration,” “self-empowerment,” “Law of Attraction,” “personal growth” and “meditation.” Literally, within the first day we were attracting people from all over the Denver metro area (and beyond) expressing their interest in gathering with us to discuss spiritual topics, to be empowered to transform their lives, and to join with others in supportive prayer. This is, by far, the best promotional response we’ve ever had!
We schedule individual Spirit Circles (“events”) to reflect the various meeting times and locations in the Denver area. We promote Spirit Circles to meetup.com members who have interests similar to ours. Participants choose the Spirit Circle closest to them or the one that matches their schedule. We send messages to Spirit Circle members about event changes, discussion topics, prayer requests or “celebration announcements.” We “poll” members to find ways to improve Spirit Circles or to respond to the members’ evolving needs. Members can post ideas for the Circles to consider, upload files for their Circle’s use, or indicate their expected attendance at upcoming events. Spirit Circle hosts and facilitators can manage the contacts and posted content for their particular Spirit Circle. Meetup.com has these tools built in; it’s a powerful, effective and unassuming way to connect with many of the 40,000 prospective members in our five-mile service area.
Being listed with www.meetup.com costs $12 per month. A routine promotion effort introduces Spirit Circles to new meetup.com members (this takes about 15 minutes a day).