“I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”
~ Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams
As a New Thought teacher or student, and the teachers are always also students, you are likely setting intentions and visioning for the upcoming New Year 2019. You are doing this because you recognize the power of intention and visioning.
So, are you doing a similar thing for your spiritual community or ministry? Are you gathering the key people together to vision, encouraging them to do prayer treatment around community intentions for the New Year? If not, why not?
When we leave our individual or communal growth to chance, to the unguided energy which arises in a field where no clear intentions have been set, we are asking for more of the same at best, and regression at worst. Leadership must be active in the role of guiding the development and practices of intentions so that what is emerging is congruent with those intentions. Remember, it is all about the emergence of what is expected in mind from a field of infinite potential. When we do not consciously set our intentions for newness, for change, we tend to get more of what we already have.
“The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today. It is a capacity that is critical in situations of disruptive change, not only for institutions and systems, but also for teams and individuals.”
~ C. Otto Scharmer, LEADING FROM AN EMERGING FUTURE
What are your intentions for 2019 for your spiritual community? Growth? Expansion? Greater social engagement? More training for leaders? There is an infinite array of possibilities, of course, and narrowing that infinity into actualization is what happens with intention and vision.
Does your community operate with evolutionary leadership? That means leaders who understand the nature of evolution in cultures and organizations (and in themselves). Creating an invitation for evolutionary processes to unfold requires a larger frame of reference for spiritual leaders; a frame of reference which includes the unknown and unexpected. In reality, everyone and every community is evolving. When this is not recognized, the process of that evolution can be inhibited; dynamic flow turns into static stagnation. Evolutionary leadership knows to stay in the flow – to keep changing, expanding, and expecting the unexpected to emerge.
“An evolving system cannot return to the past.”
~ Barbara Marx Hubbard
“Simplicity is complexity resolved.”
~ Constantin Brâncuși
So, what can an evolutionary spiritual leadership team be looking to do in 2019?
A few suggestions:
- Poll your community on what they would be interested in supporting in 2019. Give them options and ask a few open-ended questions. Do not expect conformity but look for patterns in the responses. For example, there may be agreement on social engagement, but not on specific ways to engage. A response would be to form a team to look at social engagement and assess local needs.
- Plan professional development training for minister and staff. There are many inexpensive sources for this through local universities, community foundations, and online sources. What skills need improving?
- Explore partnerships with local and regional nonprofits. Give them opportunities to present to your congregation. Encourage your members to volunteer locally and support local charities. Remember, social engagement and charitable outreach are two different things.
- Explore interfaith opportunities to engage in social justice efforts and charitable outreach.
- Create self-organized learning opportunities within your spiritual communities. This can be in the form of book studies or other more interactive means. (LINK)
- Speak about making evolutionary leadership, innovation, accountability, transparency, and compassion core values of your community leadership team.
- Expand your leadership team by having adjunct board or CORE council members who can assist existing members, learn about leadership, and add to the leadership presence in your community. These positions should have few, if any, requirements to encourage some participation by newcomers.
- Review your total online presence and upgrade where possible. Think about offering tangible benefits for connecting with your online presence – prayer-treatment, mini lessons in meditation, helping people find connections to jobs and other needs.
The intentionality with which you enter the New Year will determine the experience of that year. Will it be a year of growth, connection, and deep spiritual experiences? A year of meaningful connections within and beyond your spiritual community? That is up to you and everyone who is included in the intention setting and manifestation process.
And note that none of this diminishes the power of teaching our principles to a world crying out for them. Be firm on principle and flexible on form.
“There is a lack of spiritual leadership in the world right now so we shouldn’t be concerned what the world thinks of us. We have a religious concept that will revolutionize the world and we just need to stick with it.
“Persistence will bring success but it is a positive persistence that keeps affirming spiritual reality in spite of material effect. This means continually using ‘constructive rather than destructive conversation,’ seeing the Divine in every person and surrendering the mind in complete abandonment to the idea of success regardless of relative condition or opinion.”
~Ernest Holmes, 1933 Commentaries: Lesson Seven
Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard