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METHODS AND IDEALS for CONDUCTING CENTERS AND STUDY CLASSES
The Field Department of Unity School of Christianity
917 Tracy, Kansas City, Mo.
Money has Part
As society is now constituted, money is a factor in the daily associations of man, and naturally has a definite part to play in the general conduct of Truth centers and study classes. However, the question of money is one which should be handled according to the principles of practical Christianity and not according to the ideas predominating in the commercial world.
Money not Unspiritual
Every center and study class, no matter how small, will be helped by having the idea of money definitely connected with it. Money itself is not unspiritual, and it has a very important part to play in the advancement of any spiritual ministry in this particular time. The ideas that develop in connection with the handling of money -- not the money itself -- are very important.
Ideas back of Money Important
If money is given and received as from the Lord, with the unselfish desire that it be used for the advancement of a spiritual cause, it is a vital factor in furthering the work. Furthermore we help ourselves by the practice of giving, the helpfulness being measured solely by the spirit in which we give. It is said that "The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him." A part of the ministry of a center is to allow its adherents the privilege of giving as they have received. The law is: "Give, and it shall be given unto you." The student receives good according to his capacity or desire to give good. He may not be able to give largely in material symbols, but nevertheless he can give in a generous and kindly spirit. The giving is important, not the thing given.
A center with money in its treasury is in a position to take advantage of helpful suggestions for extending the scope of its ministry. However, lack of money in the treasury should never cause the class to hold back when any need has presented itself. Neither money nor lack of money should influence the attitude of one who is acting upon the leadings of Spirit.
Voluntary Offering Plan
It is never consistent with the principles of Truth to make direct appeals to the people for money. A spiritual ministry should be conducted entirely on the voluntary offering plan; the student is helped, not so much by the sense of paying for what he gets as by his own voluntary giving. "Give, and it shall be given unto you."
Giving is Part of Growth
Giving is really a part of one's spiritual growth; the act of giving -- the bestowal of a gift upon the center or the practitioner -- is of great benefit to the student. There should be no attempt to influence the student to give to the support of the work, but the law back of giving and receiving should be taught as a part of the center's curriculum.
Leader's Idea of Supply
If the leader is constantly appealing to the student to give, it is clear that the leader believes the source of supply to be the student, rather than the real Source. The teacher who relies upon the student for supply will sooner or later find himself disappointed. Supply is in Spirit, and the wise and understanding leader is the one who relies solely upon Spirit.
In case the supply of the leader is not commensurate with his desires or needs, it is necessary for him to understand two things: that his supply comes from God, and that he must be constantly at work, opening his consciousness to receive the supply which is his by virtue of his relationship to God.
Supply and Service
There is a secondary phase of supply which the leader should understand: His supply comes very largely in accordance with the fullness of service that he gives to the students that come to the class or center. When one feels that his supply is getting low, it is not necessary for him to consider ways and means by which he may stimulate or increase his supply.
Give to Receive
The thing for him to consider most is how he may give a more effective service to those who come to him. In other words, the surest way to get anything is to proceed at once to give its equivalent in service.
Many centers have found the prosperity envelope a very helpful means of bringing the law of giving and receiving into expression. However, one should be sure that the use of such devices is not leading him to depend upon the idea of material supply, and he should see to it that this process is not a means that he is using with the subconscious idea of stimulating the income of the center or study class.
The financial policy of a center must be used as a part of the educational ministry of the center, and never as a means of increasing material supply. Let each plan be used with a view to stimulating the right spirit in giving.
Giving and Receiving
Any one who has an active realization of God as his supply will never want for any good thing. Any student who realizes the law which lies back of giving and receiving will have no hesitancy in giving the best that he can. When one has received anything of worth his first impulse is to give something in return. This tendency is fundamental in each and will find expression when the person has the right understanding and the right environment.
Freedom in Giving
The Spirit of giving functions best only when it is left entirely free. You would not have a generous feeling about giving something in return for a valuable thing that you had received, if you were conscious that the giver expected that you would give something in return. You desire to give in return for a gift only when you realize that it was given freely and without thought of reward. It is evident in that in order to keep the law of giving and receiving freely operative in the work of a center, the leaders must keep their minds free from desire to have some one constantly contributing to the work. Let the atmosphere of the center be charged with the idea of service -- to give to the people the most helpful and desirable thing in the universe -- and the desire to give service will become the ruling force within the center. All people will gladly and willingly respond to this atmosphere. We always do things better in a spirit of freedom than we do in a spirit of bondage.
Compensating Teachers and Healers
All workers in the center should realize that some compensation should go to the teachers or healers at work in a center. If all the income of a center is given to the center, the teachers and the practitioners are not receiving a just compensation for their ministry. One of the best plans that has been put into operation in centers is here outlined: The offerings made for public class, or lecture services is so proportioned between the speaker and the center as to give the teacher a just share. Of offerings personally made to practitioners for healing service, the practitioner contributes justly to the expense of the center. Offerings personally made to the teacher are tithed or in a fair way divided with the center. The work is a mutual opportunity and a mutual responsibility, and the one in charge of the center, the teacher, and the practitioner, should consult and agree among themselves as to how these matters should be arranged. The method adopted will govern in the case of visiting teachers or practitioners.
Attitude in Financing Work
It should be remembered that the healer also gives support to the center by his healing consciousness and by bringing new people into the center. The general attitude of every one in connection with a center, either as teacher, practitioner, or student, should be that the center and its workers should be justly compensated for their ministry. In this way the finances of the center will be handled harmoniously and abundance will manifest for all.
As many people have found tithing very helpful, and as there is a spiritual law underlying the practice of tithing, it is well for a teacher to present the principles of tithing and to enable the students to avail themselves of the advantages offered by this method. Much helpful literature on this subject is available to the teacher or student if the idea is not clear to him.
A particularly helpful practice is the blessing of all offerings which come to the center or its workers. The greatest blessing that we can give to money or to anything else that we touch is to recognize the spiritual reality that lies back of it. The practice of blessing the offerings which come to the center is most helpful, as it teaches of the spiritual reality that lies back of the outer symbol.
- What is the idea back of the exchange of money in any center or class?
- What is the real source of a center's supply?
- Why should the work be conducted upon the voluntary offering plan?
- What is the law in regard to giving and receiving?
- What should be the object in teaching the law of giving and receiving, in a center?
- Do you consider it advisable to give out blessed money, envelopes, and banks? If so, why?
- Why should one never make a direct appeal for money?
- What relation does the service which a center gives, bear to its income?
- What should be the attitude of teachers and healers in regard to finances?
- Do you believe in tithing as a means of demonstrating prosperity?
- How does it help to bless the offerings received for the upkeep of the work?
- What is your idea regarding individual compensation for teachers and healers?
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