How to start a Congregation
Structuring a Board of Directors Group for the Congregation
As with any group, having a Board of Directors group set up for your congregation is necessary to ensure that the right practices are in place at all times. As a duly ordained minister or pastor of a Universal Life Church congregation, it is your main responsibility to make sure that a record keeping book is obtained and properly kept, as is a regular meeting scheduling for the Board of Directors for your local congregation. These meetings will be utilized to help provide an opportunity to help oversee the operation of your congregation.
The setting for your Universal Life Church congressional Board of Directors meetings is open to be held in many different venues. Some congregations select to hold these meetings within the same building that their services are held at. However, you can choose to hold these meetings within your own home, a meeting space that you rent or in a building that you choose to have built for your congressional needs.
The minister and the Board of Directors will need to make a decision on how frequently the meetings should be held. This can be either on a weekly or monthly time schedule. The Secretary that is selected for the Board of Directors group will need to make sure that accurate records are kept on these meetings. The information, such as how many meetings the congregation selects to how and how many participants each meeting has, will need to be reported on the monthly congregational reports.
Providing Services and Sacraments for the Congregation
The services and sacraments that are delivered to the congregation are the most important aspect of the pastor or minister's duties. The Universal Life Church Monastery does not dictate to the congregation on what types of services are to be held within their own localized group. The service and the order of the service are completely up to the pastor or minister and the Board of Directors for the congregation to decide upon. Some suggestions that we can make to you is that when you do have a service, you might want to incorporate prayer, salute the flag, have spiritual music and singing or incorporate a reading that is available from the sources that you want to follow within your congregation.
At the Universal Life Church Monastery the pastor of the congregation usually speaks to his congregations and then provides for an open meeting where other members within the congregation are allowed to speak and bring forth their own personal beliefs and practices. This is only a suggestion that can be incorporated into your own personal service plan, but does not have to be followed. Whatever regular service plan that you select for your own pastoral plan should be utilized on a regular basis.
Understanding Special Services and Responsibilities that May Be Requested
Duly ordained pastors and ministers are often called upon to perform special services and rites that are requested by members within their congregation or people within their community. Some of these services include baptismal services, wedding services, funerals and the ordaining of new ministers. As a Universal Life Church ordained pastor with your own congregation, it is your responsibility to be prepared to perform these different sacraments and services, when necessary.
The actual practices that are used are at your own discretion and can be decided by either yourself or a combination of you and your Board of Directors. For example, while all baptismal services are symbolized by water and a ceremonial practice, there are three options when performing baptismal services. You can choose to use the total emersion option, the sprinkling method or the laying on of hands. However, it is again important to have a plan in place for individuals that are requesting simple services that are already able to take place.
Personalizing services are options that can be available if you so choose. This is something that you will want to let individuals aware of who seek your pastoral services for their special ceremonies. Your Board of Directors meetings provide you with great opportunities to pass these informational ideas and plans along.
Another special service that is very popular among our various congregations include the ordainment of new ministers. When looking at the scriptures, for example, St. John 15:16, you will see that God, the Supreme Intelligence or any other referencing name selected for your congregation to use, called the individual and ordained him. This ceremony can be performed by either laying on of hands or words. It is simply the confirmation of what has already taken place by our heavenly leader. The Universal Life Church issues a state certified license to the newly ordained minister by going between the person and the state. The Universal Life Church pays special attention to the fact that they do not ever go between the individual and his or her God.
Financing a Universal Life Church Congregation
Financing your congregation is an important aspect that must be carefully considered. This will be a main focus of discussion at your Board of Directors meeting of the congregation. There are many activities and methods to go about gaining the financial means necessary to support your Universal Life Church congregation. Here are some of the options that are available to help gain the financing you will need.
- Providing wedding ceremonies is another great opportunity to help gather funding for your congregation. All ministers that are duly ordained are able to provide these services. You can choose to write your own ceremonial plan, work with the couple who are getting married to create a personal wedding ceremonial plan or use one of the two beautifully created rites that we can provide for you.
- Having fundraisers for your congregation can provide both financial gain for the congregation, as well as get the information out to the people within your community who may be looking to join a new congregation. Fundraising events such as pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, dessert events or other socially engaging activities are great opportunities that have proven successful for many other groups.