So you want to be a leader? How about a teacher? Well, they are mostly the same; a lot of work. Work that is challenging, exciting, and fulfilling, but it is difficult at the best of times.
This is well known to me as I was part of a group who was asked to build an organization eventually called Urantia Association International. Trustees called on a small group of readers and requested what seemed to be an impossible task; to build a new international reader group to support Urantia Foundation.
The story of how a new group was created through teamwork, creativity and leadership is an excellent example of how a few people working together can achieve an almost impossible task.
“The adjusters are loving leaders, your safe and sure guides through the dark and uncertain mazes of your short earthy career. They are the patient teachers who so constantly urge their subject forward in the path of progressive perfection. They are the careful custodians of the sublime values of creature character.” (1203:4)
I can tell you, our adjusters had their work cut out for them.
Before the tale is told, much appreciation is given to the then Trustees, previous Trustees, today’s Trustees, and other key advisers. What I am about to present can work in most organizational situations which require starting from the beginning with virtually little information or support.
Identify the Problems and Opportunities
- Due to disagreements, misunderstandings and personality clashes, a majority of the original Urantia Brotherhood Association separated themselves from Urantia Foundation and started a separate fraternal group. This left Urantia Foundation crippled as far as book dissemination, fundraising and readership outreach.
“Religion is first an inner or personal adjustment, and then it becomes a matter of social service or group adjustment. The fact of man’s gregariousness perforce determines that religious groups will come into existence. What happens to these religious groups depends very much on intelligent leadership.” (1090:5)
- The original mailing list was the key to building a new organization to support Urantia Foundation spiritually and financially into the near future.
- The Urantia Foundation had been a viable non-profit for almost fifty years. History is important to readers and to the book distributors.
- There were still a number of long time readers who supported Urantia Foundation and were willing to assist in building another organization of support.
- The vacancy of three Trustee positions was an opportunity for new ideas from new Trustees.
This is the difficult part of any marketing plan as solutions must be based on past experience or tried and true market planning involving expensive research.
- In spite of the lack of readership files and a full staff, research was proposed to find additional readers who supported Urantia Foundation.
- A committee, the Advisory Committee to the Trustees, (ACT,) was formed from older experienced readers, and asked to evaluate and create a solution to the problem. This group was made up of retired Trustees and volunteers.
- A fundraising plan was developed.
“He invariably taught his apostles by questions and answers” (1546:2)
- The Coordinating Committee using the Foundation mailing list contacted over 400 readers throughout the U.S. and Canada and formed the beginning of what is today Urantia Association International.
- Provision was made for the financing of calls which could not be personally financed by volunteers.
- Opinions of the organizational split were solicited.
- Readers were asked for their suggestions regarding the continuation of the revelation’s goals.
- Readers were asked if they would volunteer if needed.
- Membership was also solicited worldwide to form a new fraternal organization which would support the Foundation’s Declaration of Trust, its publishing mandate and the Foundation’s programs.
- Readers were invited from all parts of the world and the US to attend a brainstorming weekend, the subject being what was needed for a new organization. Urantia Association was the child of many readers’ opinions and hopes for the future.
- Urantia Association International was born with associations chartered in Australia, Canada, Finland, and the United States.
NOTE: The above marketing plan is simple due to time constraints but there are enough ideas to at least help you and your group organize to better serve your local readership.
“Nothing seemed so important to Jesus as the individual human who chanced to be in his immediate presence. He was master and teacher but he was more-he was also a friend and neighbor, and an understanding comrade . (1546:1)
Fostering study groups can be organized much the same way as the new organization was born. Identify the goals, problems, opportunities and solutions; act upon these with positive activities, be a friend, neighbor and understanding comrade, and watch the study group grow!
- Study groups were never supposed to be political groups but because of past problems they began to choose between the two membership groups. Before then there was no need as there was only one fraternal organization.
- Politics have no place in the study group. Study groups are not to be a political forum and this should be carefully explained to new readers. Essentially each individual who joins a study group is there to study and learn more about the revelation of God to mankind.
- Politics is a separate discussion meant to be part of organizational issues. (Man cannot totally eliminate politics from this revelation as the teachings themselves address politics.) Politics in this group seemed to be more intense once the internet was born and misunderstandings occurred.
- Neither channeling nor any other isms’ belong in the study group.
- Study Groups have always been autonomous and should continue to be so. No one should dictate to study groups as to who and what they support as long as they concentrate on The Urantia Book and its teachings at their meetings.
- Study Groups are free to participate in service or not. Each group can find its own projects if they so wish or participate in Urantia Association projects.
- We as study group members or leaders can and do use many of Jesus techniques in our study groups, particularly those of us who have attended or hosted groups for many years.
- We study group leaders have learned by our mistakes and we have learned what makes a good group better: Leadership; consistent, caring, nurturing, and informed, we make sure everyone has refreshment, a chair and a Urantia book
UAI Membership Groups
“Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting it’s spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus’ religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic and political reorganization for the world.” (2082:8)
We who have read and accepted the teachings of The Urantia Book have a responsibility to continue this important work of creating a loving growing brotherhood based on what we have accepted as the Fifth Epochal Revelation. I have given you an outline of what was done in the past to build a new organization out of virtually nothing except the personalities who were waiting to be called, and of course those of us who called them. They were eager to tell us their stories, excited about being needed and enthusiastic about what they could do for the revelation.
All organizations need funding and everyone is aware of this fact. The membership group needs to identify what are the ongoing needs for the group and form a standing fundraising committee as part of the organization. A fundraising committee should be active at all times with ideas, events, meetings and solicitations for those who want to be involved on a higher level of giving of time and resources. People appreciate the attention and the solicitation of their ideas as well as the financial assistance they can provide. So do not forget to ask them their opinions, you may receive great advice!
“The Jewish religion persisted (also) because of its institutions. It is difficult for religion to survive as the private practice of isolated individuals. This has ever been the error of the religious leaders: Seeing the evils of institutionalized religion, they seek to destroy the technique of group functioning.” (1076:4)
If growth is what we desire then we must all participate in organizing our time and talent to reach out to our fellow man and ask them to a part of the most exciting activity on this planet – the building of a mighty group of souls devoted to serving mankind and our Father within. Who will do this but those of you in this room? Who will inspire the young people if it is not us? This is not easy work, but as a group, with wise leadership, we can accomplish great things.
Leadership and teaching is service on a high level.
“Service—more service, increased service, difficult service, adventurous service, and at last divine and perfect service—is the goal of time and the destination of space.” (316:4)
To be a leader you must appreciate your fellow man; be tenacious, have vision, take the time to plan, implement and follow up. It is time for us to use the referrals given to us, and to find others… to call these readers, invite them to meetings, suppers, or take them out for coffee.
“Leadership is vital to progress. Wisdom, insight, and foresight are indispensable to the endurance of nations. Civilization is never really jeopardized until able leadership begins to vanish. And the quantity of such wise leadership has never exceeded one per cent of the population.” (911:6)
One percent of the population may be born leaders, but most anyone can be a leader through planning, hard work and faith that what you are doing is important to our world. Give yourself a break by understanding no one is perfect on this world, just do what you can.
“As you view the world, remember that the black patches of evil which you see are shown against a while background of ultimate good.” (2076:3)
People are looking for answers, and we have them. We are all our unseen friends have!
Jesus needed his apostles, we need each other.
“Religion inspires man to live courageously and joyfully on the face of the earth: it joins patience with passions, insight to zeal, sympathy with power, and ideals with energy.” (1093:1)
How long has it been since you called an old friend and asked him to join you for coffee? We have found this revelation for a reason, not to hide it under a barrel, but to spread the teachings of Jesus by living a life of Goodness, by speaking and living Truth and by being and creating Beauty, and most of all by Loving each other.
It is time; we have everything, all the tools to make this happen. More then ever before in the history of this earth have we as truth seekers had such an opportunity.
Readers of The Urantia Book, take out your phones, get on your computers, devote some time each week to spreading the good word and be glad and thankful that in your short time on Urantia you can make a difference.
“The Adjusters are loving leaders, your safe and sure guides through the dark and uncertain mazes of your short earthly career; they are the patient teachers who so constantly urge their subjects forward in the paths of progressive perfection. ” (1203-4)
And finally Jesus tells us:
“I have taught you much by word of mouth, and I have lived my life among you. I have done all that can be done to enlighten your minds and liberate your souls, and what you have not been able to get from my teachings and my life, you must now prepare to acquire at the hand of that master of all teachers—actual experience. And in all of this new experience which now awaits you, I will go before you and the Spirit of Truth shall be with you. Fear not; that which you now fail to comprehend, the new teacher, when he has come, will reveal to you throughout the remainder of your life on earth and on through your training in the eternal ages.” (1961:4)
Each of you in this room have been given this book for a reason. You have chosen to be here, you have given untold hours reading and trying to understand these teachings. Your hour has come to act, to teach, to lead and most of all to live these teachings as best you can.