I have mentioned in previous posts that our efforts to evolve Unity Spiritual Center include three major initiatives:
- Growing the culture of ownership (via The Integral Membership System)
- Shadow work (via The Q Process™)
- Shifting the culture from minister / ministry-centric to mission-centric (via SpiritGroups™ small group ministry program)
In my opinion, progress in these three arenas of development will create a tipping point within our ministry’s culture resulting in a more resilient and sustainable organization and community dynamic. We are already seeing the early benefits of our year-long focus on shadow work. We launch both the Integral Membership System and SpiritGroups™this spring and will integrate all aspects of community, leadership, and organizational development within the context of these three initiatives over the next 4 years. It may take this long for our systems and programs to reach their full effectiveness and maturity. When we bring a new program or system online it is always a test run rather than an imposed structure that compels new organizational behavior. Instead, we demonstrate the value and effectiveness of a new program before a new ministry practice is institutionalized.
I have every confidence that this will come to pass providing we do not increase in numbers too rapidly. It may seem counter intuitive to say that an increase in numbers might be counterproductive. However, until we have our infrastructure and systems in place, a rapid increase in numbers would actually create more expense.
Independent of increasing numbers, my other concern is finances. There is a balance between managing funding issues and rushing to bring new things online that will eventually translate into more financial support. None of these initiatives are intended to directly increase revenues in the short-term, with the exception of the Integral Membership System. Even still, the challenge is that a phased approach to membership is very structure dependent—meaning that foundational systems which support the membership process need to be in place. This takes time. And time often exacerbates the sense of organizational not enough.
Next week we launch our SpiritGroups small group ministry program.
Last January, we hired Tara Wear to fill our SpiritGroups Program Leader staff position for the purpose of overseeing the roll-out, launch, and continuation of our program. Mendhi Audlin, President & Founder of InfinteConnections Academy and SpiritGroups, came to Spokane to conduct a SpiritGroups train-the-trainer Host training. We had 25 people from 9 ministries participate. Then, in February, we conducted a SpiritGroups Host training within our own ministry in preparation for our community-wide launch.
This first launch will include 10 small groups with over 80 community members (1/2 of our congregation) participating. Our recruitment process included a Connection Event where our congregation was invited to meet with individual group leaders and sign up for a SpiritGroup near where they live (all groups meet in homes or meeting venues other than the church campus). For this first launch, each group will be using one of the video programs developed by Mendhi called: Thy Will Be Done as curriculum. Her interactive video-based curriculum makes it very easy for people to serve as Group Hosts insofar as the videos minimize the need for facilitation skills. Additional media resources include a program on the Five Unity Principles, featuring Rev. Ellen Debenport. Much of our new member orientation will be delivered via the SpiritGroups program. In other words, no membership classes. Everything happens in a small group.
Rev. Steve Bolen has also collaborated with Mendhi featuring Your 12 Mystical Powers video services specifically designed for the SpiritGroups program. Click here to learn more about this as well. Each video series consists of six 15 – 20 minute videos. Group Hosts will start and stop the video program for discussion and deeper inquiry into the topics discussed. Prior to our launch, we conducted a test run with a select group of individuals who agreed to service as hosts for the first roll-out. Jane and I participated in the test run and found the whole experience quite transformational. Our ultimate goal will be 100% participation of our congregation in the SpiritGroups program.
After everything is up and running well, subsequent launches (3 launch windows each year), will not be tied to any specific curriculum. Each group leader / host can choose a topic of interest for their individual group, from a book study, for instance, to any specific area of interest (yes, including basket weaving). The unique aspect of SpiritGroups is the operational structure. Each group, regardless of a group’s topic of interest, has the same internal practice called the Five C’s. You can learn more about these unique features that help insure each small group stays aligned with the ministry’s mission and never becomes an independent subculture within the ministry by clicking here.
SMALL GROUP MINISTRY SUMMIT—Hosted by Unity Village Chapel, June 10 – 12
If you are planning to attend the Unity Convention this year, you won’t want to miss this pre-conference training opportunity hosted by Unity Village Chapel.
If you’re running a small group, or thinking of kicking off a small groups ministry program at your church, mark your calendar today for the first annual Small Group Leadership Summit. This event brings together small group leaders, future leaders, program directors, and ministers from throughout the New Thought movement who are committed to growing their communities by leveraging the power of small groups.
You’ll hear from some of the trailblazers of small group ministry in our movement, as well as enjoy live music, mastermind sessions with other leaders, and have time to connect, relax and enjoy the beauty and spiritual inspiration of Unity Village.
Mendhi has graciously offered my blog readers a special Summit Discount of $50 off the event training fee of $295. Click here for full details of the training. The program is packed with everything you need to know about small group ministry and how it fosters transformation as well as attracts Millennials into your church community.