by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/4/15.
A tactic of a leadership collage should be to minister to as many cultures (generational, ethnic, affinity, etc.) as feasible. But, you should likewise have a plan for unity services as a tactic of your leadership collage.
But, here is a warning. Unity services should not be about the event, but about the effect … of helping congregants appreciate that we are different generations with different cultural tastes. Thus, don’t have a unity service or unity event because you have a low-attendance Sunday coming up, but host a unity event so you can help the congregation appreciate all of the cultures present in the church.
Some churches have a combined unity service on every the Fifth Sunday. Others like Saint Thomas’ Church of Sheffield, England had a weekly Sunday Evening Service which is a unity encounter for its nine (9) different cultures. I suggest if you have two or more worship services, you have a unity event at least once every three months.
So, how do you plan to do it?
A Leadership Exercise:
First, settle on the right goal. A unity event is not about combining services for a low-attendance Sunday (holiday weekends) but about “helping congregants appreciate that we are different generations with different cultural taste.”
Secondly, do some research on what others have done to create unity celebrations. Use the Internet, your network of friends or just brainstorm with colleagues. Here is a link to the story of St. Tom’s Church in Sheffield, England and my experience at their Sunday evening unity events.
Thirdly, create a plan. Share with other leaders some ideas about how you will, or have seen others create real unity events, where people see the differences in cultures … and then come to appreciate each culture more. Make a personal plan from this.
Some of you may have seen how Greater Traveler’s Rest Church in Georgia famously held a unity service every Thanksgiving season to celebrate their different generational cultures. Because they used secular music, the pastor (a friend of mine) received threatening letters. Thus, the video I formerly posted here is gone.
But, below is a URL of a video of the entire service, showing how one church does it. Greater Traveler’s Rest Church is an African-American church and they were influenced by a colleague of mine:
So create a plan regarding how your church could localize and customize a “unity” experience that would be appropriate for your culture. It probably wouldn’t happen like the video in your church, but it might in some 🙂 If you need a little shot of enthusiasm as you near the end of your course, you may want to watch the video again 🙂