What is Spirit Map?

The Spirit Map survey was designed by a group from Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul. It gives a congregation and its leaders insights into its culture of spirituality, including its self-identified strengths and opportunities for development.

Survey participants are given a list of attributes and asked to rate, on a scale of one to ten, how well the attributes apply to the survey taker. There will be questions about the impact of church programs and how they may relate to the survey taker’s religious growth.

On an individual level, survey results may assist its takers in finding inherent religious strengths and in discovering opportunities to develop enhanced senses of peace, compassion, and joy. At a congregational level, the survey results may help churches to celebrate their collective spiritual strengths and to identify methods of enhancing the church’s overall religious growth.

How does it work?

There is an opportunity to reflect on 44 statements related to spirituality.  The attributes are rated on a scale of 1 to 10. With each attribute, there is an opportunity to mark the survey as to:

  • How true it is for you,
  • How important it is for you.

Perhaps the survey can best be understood by considering the difference between “eulogy” versus “resume” virtues. These virtues were discussed by New York Times columnist David Brooks in an April 11, 2015 article entitled, “The moral bucket list.” In this article, he notes the difference between “resume” virtues, which you might  use in applying for a job and “eulogy” virtues which you hope would be used to describe you at your own memorial service. The Unity survey helps you evaluate the presence of these “eulogy” virtues in your life while you are still very much alive.

Congregants will also have the opportunity to express the degree to which congregational programs or activities contribute to spiritual growth and development.

How will our congregation use the Spirit Map results?

  • Provide the JUC Board of Trustees a baseline for understanding how the church is doing on its mission and strategic outcomes. Gathering such information is a necessary component of accountability under Policy Governance.
  • Understand and leverage our spiritual strengths as our congregation’s spiritual “brand.” 
  • Build on our strengths and invest in our opportunities to offer greater spiritual growth.
  • Develop and align our church programs to take advantage of our spiritual strengths and work on our spiritual opportunities.
  • Communicate our spiritual identity to the congregation, the community and potential new congregants.

Unity Consulting aggregates and analyzes the responses to provide JUC its:

  • Top five Spiritual Strengths
  • Top five Key Opportunities for spiritual growth
  • Quadrant map of all strengths and opportunities
  • Strengths and opportunities in the ten underlying dimensions of spiritual maturity, which are derived from synergies among the 44 statements.
  • Church program strengths and opportunities as related to congregants’ spiritual growth.

How might an individual use the Spirit Map results?

Individuals can use their Spirit Map responses and the analysis of their responses for spiritual self-exploration and discovery. Individuals can receive an analysis that tells  the Signature Strengths and Key Opportunities in their spiritual life, plus a Quadrant Map of all their strengths and opportunities.   

What is the cost of the survey?

The cost of having Unity supply and analyze the results of the survey at the congregational level will be borne by JUC. In addition, any participant may pay individually  to have Unity analyze his/her/their individual responses as described above.   

How often will we administer the survey at JUC?

JUC first administered the survey in Spring 2017 and repeated the process in May of 2021. We expect to administer the survey about every three years to see how people’s responses grow and change. The survey will be part of continued accountability at JUC in determining progress toward our mission and strategic outcomes.

JUC 2017 Spirit Map Results

In April and May of 2017, 333 JUCers completed the Spirit Map survey customized for our church. The survey consisted of three components:

Forty four statements about your spiritual life. A rough classification divided the results between “signature strengths” in which JUCers gave the statement a high self-assessment and a high importance and “key opportunities” in which you gave the statement a high importance but a low self-assessment.
Our Signature Strengths were identified as:
  • I act with integrity.
  • I care deeply about the welfare of others.
  • I seek opportunities to learn and grow.
  • I believe it matters what I do.
  • I take responsibility for the consequences of my actions, even those that are unintended.

Our Key Opportunities were identified as:

  • I’m able to adapt when things do not turn out the way I want.
  • I give to others fully and generously.
  • I can be in the presence of my own or another’s pain without needing to flee or fix it.
  • I see beauty all around me.
  • I make good decisions about when to act.
Evaluation of JUC’s three strategic outcomes; deepen, connect and engage. JUCers were asked to rate the details of each of these outcomes on a scale between 1 and 5 and for all three you scored on average between 4 and 5 indicating strong support for these outcomes. In addition, the survey asked whether members would recommend JUC to a friend as a measure of overall loyalty and 71% said yes.
Finally, we asked for general comments on how JUC was doing and, not surprisingly, quite a gamut of opinions were received.