Practical Christianity is one way Unity describes itself. “New age hippies” is the way many Orthodox Christians describe Unity. Unity is a denomination that was founded in 1889 by Myrtle and Charles Fillmore. Church leaders interpret the Bible metaphysically. It’s progressive and relies on the power of prayer for healing and to manifest your destiny. It takes study and commitment, like any other religion, to become a minister in the Unity church.
Get the Call
Like many other organized Christian denominations, Unity expects its minsters to get a call from God. Though you can’t expect a burning bush as such, the church considers applicants who feel a strong desire to help others live a healthy and prosperous life. You should be drawn to the Unity community and compelled to become a leader in the movement that directs followers down a positive spiritual path. You definitely need to be open-minded because Unity supports many different lifestyles and beliefs. And you’ll need to be an example by living your life according to Unity principles.
Through Unity, you can become a minister after getting a bachelor’s degree from another school or take the certification route that’s a little longer but does not require that you have a degree. Both paths require you to complete the Spiritual Education and Enrichment, or SEE, program that gives you all the basic Unity teachings in a nutshell. You must be a member of a Unity church and although it’s not required, it’s strongly recommended that you spend at least two years holding various leadership positions in your church. You can be a choir director or chair a fundraising committee, serve as a book study group leader or be a member of the local board of directors. You can even become and Enlightened Leader before applying for ordination, which is a good way to get your feet wet in Unity leadership.
Enroll for your Master of Divinity, which takes about three years full-time, or enter the Diploma in Unity Ministry program that you can finish in about the same time, but requires more classes to complete to earn a certificate of completion. You don’t need to have a bachelor’s degree to become a minister through the Diploma route, though both bring you to the same place – an interview with the admissions team at Unity Village. The Master program includes 90 hours of coursework, while the Diploma program includes 127 hours of continuing education.
Completing a ministerial degree at Unity does not guarantee that you’ll be ordained. You still have to face the interview process. Interviews are done twice a year at Unity Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. You can take many of your courses online to prepare for the interview and get your degree or certificate, but must take at least 51 percent of your classes at the Unity Village campus. Additionally, while much of your study can be done on a part-time basis, you must attend at least two ten-week terms consecutively on the campus of Unity International in Missouri.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."