As Above, So Below

Next Level QuestionsAs I mentioned in my last posting, evolving the ministry–getting to the next level–requires a tipping point where there is sufficient capacity of the organization and the community to take on a new ministry practice that can actualize a new pattern of being and doing. Of course, the tipping point is only a hypothetical possibility until the elements of cultural change come into play. This requires a comprehensive picture of what the next level looks and feels like. People will need to see themselves in the same future together if there is to emerge a coherent movement towards it as well as a clear methodology for bringing it forth. In other words, people will need to be guided, led, supported, and trained as to how to BE or how to inhabit an evolved paradigm of ministry. Think of the caterpillar who may take on faith that the butterfly is its latent potentiality, but has no context for the experience (consciousness) of its future self.

To get your head around the complexity of evolving culture ask yourself this question: What is my “next level?”

How would you answer this question? And, what would your next level look and feel like? Would your next level mean greater emotional and spiritual maturity? Would it mean greater health and vitality. Would it include more money, more time, less stress or worry? Would your next level mean you are no longer a victim or would it mean healing the past?

Absent of a well defined description of what the next level is for yourself, it is unlikely that you will get there directly. Yet, once you get very clear as to what the next level looks and feels like, you can begin to define the steps (new ways of being) that move you toward a new paradigm of self expression.

Similar questions are asked and answered by those in the culture of ownership except in the context of the next level for the ministry. However, it’s not until the culture of ownership gets to 51% that the tipping point becomes a potentiality. Until then the focus needs to be on cultivating greater ownership within the ranks of the culture of receivership (those who only have a connection to the community).

The “tip” of the tipping point is the Board culture. It is also the starting place for increasing ownership. The assumption is that anyone who services on the Board is in ownership of the ministry. While this may be generally true on some level, the depth and scope of ownership is sometimes insufficient with respect to inspiring others (especially those in receivership) to care deeply about the well-being and sustainability of the organization.

In the Integral Model of Ministry, the Board’s responsibility includes developing other leaders and modeling what it looks like to be the ideal governing (voting) member. The performance (how people show up) of the community will not exceed the Board’s capacity to model by example what it looks like to be in financial integrity with respect to the support of the ministry and other practices: commitment to personal health and well-being via spiritual practice and shadow work; the application of Unity principles in the presence of challenges and opportunities; service and meaningful involvement both within and outside of the church community. If we as a Board desire a practice, trait, or quality to show up in the congregation, then we as a Board need to model it. As above, so below.

Thus begins our conversation with our Board to consider raising the bar with respect to these arenas that constitute ownership. I am pleased to report that our Board welcomes being in this crucial conversation. I think that they really get that we cannot ask the congregation to do anything that we as a Board are unable or unwilling to do.

Blessings, Gary


One thought on “As Above, So Below”

  1. Hello Gary, Thank you for all of the inspired insights you are sharing and have shared in the past. Unity of Columbia, MO seems to be on a journey parallel to Unity Spiritual Center of Spokane with our Transition Consultant, Rev. Sandy Butler. I’ll look forward to your observations on the systems at work at each juncture. Bless to all as we walk this path together.

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