Four Months: Progress Update

We recently began our second round of Art & Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You (Q Process™) workshops. Over eighty people this time around (45 in the first workshop). My administrative assistant told me this morning that in her 15 years of managing the office, she has never seen such an amazing turnout during the summer months for a 6-week Wednesday night class. Jane and I are a bit overwhelmed (in a positive way) at the receptivity our community has towards everything we have proposed to create.

FlowchartThis is the process map I shared at a recent Center Update that depicts a phased approach to bringing online the various modules that comprise the Integral Ministry Model. Each phase builds upon the foundation of its predecessor. Our major stakeholders are delighted to see such a coherent plan for moving the ministry forward.

When I mentioned that it would take about 5 years to fully implement the programs and modules that constitute taking the ministry to the next level, people started calling the process map “our five year Staples1plan.” There was something amazing that began to happen as if we inadvertently discovered a “that was easy button.” So many people remarked how comforting it was that their spiritual leaders were clear enough in their vision of HOW to get to the next level (never claiming any insight into what the next level looks like), that they could relax and let us do our thing. They saw that way forward was not so much about addressing the problems of the ministry, but rather the way forward was about getting to the next level. Our current difficulties are not problems to solve, but evolutionary drivers. The organizational issues of funding, commitment, accountability, and maturity get resolved by getting PEOPLE to the next level. The organization’s evolution is secondary to the community’s evolution in the beginning. Once the community members experience firsthand how the teachings and spiritual practice can transform their lives, they begin to value the organization in new and innovative ways. They discover a different context for their experience of ministry. They awaken to the necessity of the organization’s health as integral to community members getting to their own personal next level.

Many of the modules in the process map utilize the leadership guidebooks recently released by Unity Worldwide Ministries. These guidebooks that can be downloaded for free include: Welcoming Ministry, Emotional & Spiritual Development, Spiritual Gifts Assessment, Sacred Service, Leadership Development, and Future Planning 1 – 2. They are designed to be introduced in sequence as they dovetail  with the Integral Membership System (a module that I have developed and plan to field-test here at Unity Spiritual Center). Check out earlier posts for more details about the Integral Membership System.

Last week I met with our ushers, greeters and hospitality folks to introduce the Welcoming Ministry Guidebook. The guidebook presents a phased approach to aligning a welcoming system with best practices. It provides valuable assessments and resources for creating a team that becomes a ministry of welcoming (sort of like the Ministry of Magic). In addition, the welcoming system has an intentional aim of moving first-time guests very quickly into some form of meaningful connection within the community. Once the Integral Membership System is online, the aim of the Welcoming Ministry will be to support first-time guests in connecting with a “Buddy” or “Mentor” who supports the guest in moving toward community membership within six weeks.

Jane and I have also brought together all of our credentialed leaders  to form a Visionary Education Task Team. We are working closely with the Emotional and Spiritual Development Guidebook which is helping us create a phased approach to emotional and spiritual development. In addition, we are also using the Spiritual Gifts Assessment and Sacred Service Guidebooks as a part of our curriculum for Community Membership. We have two licensed Unity Teachers, and five Unity ministers that comprise the team. Together we are mapping out a curriculum of emotional and spiritual development that will become the basis of what someone says YES to when they wish to join the church (become a Community Member).

The classes and programs that will form the basic curriculum will include things like: Unity from the Inside Out, Prayer & Meditation, Spiritual Development (Birth of a New Reality & The I of the Storm), Metaphysics, Spiritual Gifts Assessment, Sacred Service, and other classes (electives) such as The Untethered Soul, Conscious Parenting.

We will also invite those wishing to join the church (Community Member) in addition to saying YES to deepening one’s emotional and spiritual development and saying YES to some form of meaningful sacred service, to consider saying YES to a specific auto-draft donation (Minimum Member Contribution). This is all voluntary, of course. There are no requirements in the Integral Membership system. However, there are qualifications and accountabilities (what someone says YES to) that support the integrity of all concerned. Keep in mind that Phase 2 of the Integral Membership System is the journey of those seeking the Governing Member role.Flowchart2

The revised process map (above) depicts our current emphasis. All of these modules will be repeated (cycled) at regular intervals and will become a part of the established culture of the church. For instance, soon the majority of our community will have experienced the Q Process™ resulting in a community-wide practice of how to deal with interpersonal and organizational discomfort. Everyone will have learned a powerful, transformative tool for managing their own internal state. This directly impacts the emotional well-being of the congregation. Drama, triangulation, and parking-lot conversations will diminish as people are discovering the value of crucial conversations and a healthy system for raising concerns.

The Integral Model of Ministry module will also be repeated and will become a part of the qualification for the Governing Member role. And, as has been already mentioned the educational and service components will also be offered and repeated at regular intervals once the Integral Membership System is fully operational.

The next pivotal program is the Genogram Activity. Logistically, it is similar to the Making Peace with Our Past process, but it has a totally different context. While the process maps the story of the ministry, it is not for the purpose of healing and reconciliation. The purpose of the Genogram Activity is twofold:

To identify the ministry’s Q Card / Shadow Card (for those unfamiliar with the Art & Practice / Q Process™, this means identifying both who and what the ministry has come here to be and the ministry’s shadow qualities, or its inherited limiting beliefs).

To understand the unintended consequences of a minister-centric model of ministry and to consider the implications of a mission-centric cultural centrism (more about a mission-centric culture later).

In the four short months that we have been here at Unity Spiritual Center, Jane and I feel so blessed and supported by our spiritual community. They have overwhelmingly embraced our “process” for getting to the next level. We are excited about the future and looking forward to sharing more of our adventures.

Blessings, Gary

 

 

One thought on “Four Months: Progress Update”

  1. It is with honor that I get to participate in this transformation. I have lived and breathed our spiritual community for nearly 40 years. To see the spiritual and emotional work being done on this level is fantastic. I believe this community is unbelievably ready to move forward. Such a blessing!

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