Will The Fellowship Survive?

There is a very real and important question being asked more often these days: Will The Urantia Book Fellowship stay alive? And more importantly, will it transform into a dynamic force for the dissemination of the Revelation and the fostering of the spiritual and social transformation of our planet? What do I think? Keep reading…

I’ve been around The Urantia Book Fellowship for a while now. When I began to read The UB for myself and look and listen more into the happenings of The Fellowship, I observed that this organization was almost devoid of youth participation. When I sat in on my first General Council meeting, it hardly took an hour before I saw why. People seemed hardened in their opinions and there wasn’t the spirit of brotherhood you would expect from followers of Jesus.

So I spent my 20s chasing my dreams and reading The UB and about three years ago, I felt called to take a place by my father’s side (Thomas Orjala) as a General Councilor. I couldn’t imagine standing by while the largest social organization focused on the Fifth Epochal Revelation struggled so obviously to find its way. I desired to bring my passion to the table and take a stand for what I felt in my heart was a clear and spirit-led vision for the future.

Fast forward to today.

The improvement I have seen inside The Fellowship over the last few years has given me real hope. The last three General Council meetings have been ‘special’ in that they have resolved some major conflicts and produced resolutions with a new feeling of group progress (at least to me).

I now experience a feeling that when we get together, magic happens! We just don’t do it enough. General Councilors only spend about six days a year together and that just isn’t enough time. Also, there are some real challenges remaining that need to be creatively addressed.

This is a Triennial Delegate Assembly (TDA) year.  The generation that should be taking over (40-60) is largely is missing. The following generation (youth 20-40) are very few in number and questioning if the state of The Fellowship is currently the right framework for bringing the Gospel to the world. We question where it is best to dedicate our energies.

Some of the main concern is that large organizations are so slow to change! The Fellowship is not currently flexible and adaptable to keeping up with the current progress of the world.  We desire and celebrate the group process but we also see that working in smaller groups and teams might be more effective to accomplish our individual and collective goals.

Another reality is that Fellowship societies are shrinking with no current plan for how to change this trend. Conference attendance is steadily declining as well.

Right now my generation (20-40) is being asked to take over officer positions. To take the lead in our committees and communities and take on much responsibility for the future of The Fellowship and its activities. Personally, I only desire to do this if we can start to change the culture inside The Fellowship and really define who we are and where we are going.

I want to see us all open our minds even wider and dream even bigger. I want to see us trust each other and use the Revelation as our guide.  Maybe this change will take strong leadership, maybe it will take time.

There is a tendency to fall into the traps of what I would call a conservative ideology, that is, the desire to keep things the way they have been, maintaining an over-weighted culture of study, and ignoring or downplaying the need for change.  Rather, we should prioritize living the teachings of The UB, being messengers of the Gospel, and evangelizing in all ways all the time.

The next few years need to be about how we reinvent the way we do conferences: to be more about individuals’ personal health and spiritual life and community, instead of ‘in depth study’ and lectures.

I feel that we will need to streamline the leadership by shrinking the size of the General Council to 12-20 members, the size of a normal board for a non-profit.  We should support training for councilors in programs like Landmark Education (which even IBM has used to help train its employees), Toastmasters, and other personal development programs.

Finally, we should transform the purpose of The Fellowship. We can still support committees but we must focus all our additional efforts on crowdsourcing kingdom building, meaning we select and support people and groups the world around to create and accomplish their own personal projects.

Will The Fellowship survive if these things don’t happen? Yes, it probably will.  But the important question is: Will the next cohort of leaders see that the future health of this organization is going to be built on the changes and transformations of the next generation? The digital age is calling us to reinvent ourselves and be willing to trust in what is possible.

So the time has never been so important to get new blood inside The Fellowship leadership body. There is great momentum toward addressing all of the issues I pointed out and it will take new, strong leadership to make it happen! This is a call to all who are so inspired by this Revelation that they find their purpose in transforming themselves and this organization into what it must become to succeed. Get involved in your society and get involved in this year’s TDA. Will you hear this call to serve? The universe sure hopes so.

Committed to progress forged in loving conflict,

* For a response by Avi Dogim, click HERE

Spread the word ❤

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41 thoughts on “Will The Fellowship Survive?”

  1. A UB was given to me while I was in Vietnam in 1968. I was in a rant about how I could have been so stupid to fall for this attempt to swindle this tiny country out of its precious gems and industrial materials. Did it really take me a 13,000 mile trip to see for myself to drive it home that war is seldom about anything other than commerce.
    I have read and have disseminated information ever since. Even before I truly believed in attributing the awareness in my life to The Universal Father, I believed that something has got to happen and this may be it. Then, in the 70s I met Emma Christiansen and my faith was instantly cemented.
    I admit that I had to laugh a little at the letter: Will The Fellowship Survive, not because there’s any funny about it, but because I could have written this letter at any time in the past 4 1/2 decades. And, there’s some parts in this letter that I may have written exactly the same way.
    If there is something I can do to move this fellowship forward, I will do it. There is no time like the present.

  2. Great post.

    I just feel the need to ask: What is it that is actually wanted? Is there an end-game in mind? Is it for more people to know about the UB? To join the Fellowship or some other organization? What is it we most of all want to see? If any one or two things indicate progress, what are they?

    1. Hey Darren,

      My thoughts would be this: The message of Jesus is so simple, so profound, and so personally transformitive that it needs to be preached to the entire world. But not in word. The goal is to foster a social organization that celebrates the wisdom and cosmic perspective of the UB as a whole while creating community centered in living Jesus’ gospel.

      The ‘goal’ is intangible in that we want to transform as many individuals into serving fruitfully in the spiritual kingdom. The tangible goal would be to then socialize that experience for mutual support and progress.

          1. Sorry Geoff, I wasn’t getting notifications about your responses! I was just thinking of writing something longer in order to attempt an answer to your question!

    2. Darren, Always appreciate your comments my friend.

      Is there an end game in mind? For me I guess the end game is to create a strong community focused on growing and living the teachings of the revelation and our brother Jesus.

      The Fellowship is the largest, and strongest, organization in the world supporting the 5th Epochal Revelation. It has its issues, some of which I pointed out, but it is a vehicle that can be used and adapted to meet the needs of the times, I believe.

      True we could all just do our own thing but I think if you know the UB is highlights constantly the need to work together and socialize our religion. That is what I see the Fellowship helping to do.

      At the end of the day to grow a community and have more and larger social gathering you will need finances and committees to do this. This is what the Fellowship is for. To help organize and create resources for the community world wide.

      What I think we are missing is a clear distinction of who we are. Meaning if you meet a member of the Fellowship should you know it? Should their fruits be so present you “know they have been with me” as the master said.

      Right now we are just a bunch of students of the big blue book. What I see needing to happen is we focus more energy on actually being up to something as a whole.

      I think this will happen naturally over time and with new leadership.

      I hope you will be part of this my friend. Its sometimes easy to forget the calling which we have to bring these teachings to the world. Its seems like an impossible task but all the same it Must be done.


  3. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

    Having studied and shared the spiritual gems in our Fifth Epochal Revelation for over 39 years to date with focus on the nature, life and teachings of our universe Sovereign Jesus, I continue to believe that our direction should be as clearly stated in Paper 195, sections 4 through 10. Yes, the large Urantia Book groups focus too much on book promotion and book study at the expense of living and teaching extensively the real Gospel of Jesus.

    As a free gift to all student-teachers in the Brotherhood of Jesus, please download and freely share my 100 page ,pdf file of selected spiritual highlights from “The Urantia Book” and my added comments of explanation. This is available to the public to read and download here:

    http://www.PureCVhristians.org scroll 25-30% down that long home page to find this link and the case sensitive password 7a5iZ3vV to open it. [or use this same link here if it works.]


    Love, peace and progress in Spirit and in Father-Son Eternal Truth !

    1. I have successfully opened the link and have begun the process of reading the NEW LIFE IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS book you have written. What a gift! I am very blessed to have this book! Thank You Brother Dave!!!

  4. ” … kingdom building, meaning we select and support people and groups the world around to create and accomplish their own personal projects.”

    Nice idea/ideal. Who will decide? Is the money available? What categories will be included? music, books, preaching tours, art, garbage collector? Will those from traditional/institutional religions be included?

    Jesus (155.6.11): “And fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led …”


    1. Hi Jim,
      Well, my blog site is finally ready and up and running and I’m looking for contributors to the site. If you or other members of this site are willing to contribute papers, please contact me. I’m also open to comments and even minor corrections from readers of the book.

      Wow, I’m actually excited about the future of the brotherhood of mankind. It won’t happen in mass while I’m alive but one person at a time is my focus.

      Miss you at our gatherings,

      Terry Degner

  5. CaroleRae Spence

    Thank you for the heads up. I agree we need new ideas… especially ones which take advantage of our current computer age. I believe something as simple as a regular webinar conducted by the fellowship would bring many new readers. Especially if it is recorded and made available for busy families to view during down time.

    1. Urantia University Institute has a webinar ongoing as we speak. But a University is a good idea. Maybe one that puts everything (Including, but not exclusively, the important the study of the UB) under one roof. Something like Ascension University.

  6. Hi Tuevo, I thought your article was well thought out and written. I really, as I always have since I’ve known you, so appreciate your passion and dedication to the spiritual outreach.
    The question I’d be asking though is more along the lines of “What can I/we do to help make the experience of Sonship known and available to people who are ready to receive it? That opens up all kinds of possibilities (and needs) well beyond disseminating the U. B.
    Referring the the paper on “Training Teachers and Believers” might be a good place to review for ideas.
    While there may be only a handful of people ready and able to tackle the U. B. there is such a large number of people who struggle with self identity and their relationship to live and eternity.
    140:3.2 ” …I send you forth to proclaim liberty to the spiritual captives, joy to those in the bondage of fear, and to heal the sick in accordance with the will of my Father in heaven.” Has that commission changed? To me, that should be our primary concern>
    I hope we can continue exploring this issue together (and with others of like heart)
    Thanks for your time, energy and devotion! It really matters!

  7. Thank you, Teuvo, for your thoughts and your successful efforts the change the culture within the Fellowship. You have inspired me both in the past and the present to move ministry forward–progressing in the age we find ourselves actually in. The Grand Canyon Society looks forward this weekend, in Scottsdale, Arizona, to hearing from guest speakers Geoffy Theiss, youngest councilor, and Larry Bowman who experienced being the youngest member of the Forum in Chicago. It is uplifting and encouraging to be with such dedicated folks. Love and thanks.

  8. AlaYiTi Miranda Clendening

    Great post Teuvo 🙂 I hope and pray that all of this comes to fruition. It is way past time that the fellowship is doing an incredible job at molding to what speaks to the new generations. There are so many youth that are so hungry for the truth and needing the loving fellowship and living truth that true livers of Jesus’ teachings can provide. I am glad to hear that your last few meetings have been more progressive and unified 🙂 I hope it continues on that path. Are there more spots opening up for young people on the general council? I hope to see many new projects to interconnect groups and get the message out there and build a strong and supportive community and ministry happen soon! Much love!

    1. AlaYiTi Miranda Clendening

      So, just out of curiosity? What if Global Community Communications Alliance/Avalon Gardens put in an application to be a registered active society (not saying they would want to at this point)but…? Avalon is the largest active society in the world that is putting all the Urantia teachings into action every minute together in our day-to-day life, so we would have a lot to share. But, just curious what the Fellowship response would even be at this point. You say change is coming. What does that look like?

      1. Hey Miranda,

        In my experience so far, each Urantia society has its own culture so I don’t see the fact of Avalon having a different culture as being an issue personally. I would remark that while we each may have unique religious identities, the social identity of the Fellowship is very specific. Knowing the difference is important to all those involved whether they be Christian, GCCA, or otherwise.

        Challenges exist because socializing the religious experience of the UB is a de facto purpose of the organization and that will require a commitment to tolerance of those who experience their religion differently. I know I am personally committed to tolerance in the spirit of staying focused on our goals. I would hope anyone with a similar desire be welcomed with open arms. And if that is a social purpose you desire, then I encourage you to seek it.

        1. AlaYiTi Miranda Clendening

          Thank you Geoff. You have always been such a loving, wise brother and a great teacher! I’m curious…(if I found the right, most current ones)
          Fellowship Vision:
          The Urantia Book Fellowship is the
          organization that supports the creative
          dissemination of the Fifth Epochal
          Revelation for the purpose of sharing the
          fact, teachings and truths of The Urantia
          Fellowship Mission:
          To encourage and support individuals in their teaching, ministry, and
          dissemination activities by helping them realize their full spiritual potential as
          living translators of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.

          So far, our mission and vision are in alignment with this. Are there specific goals you are referring to since the vision and mission is vague? Also, at the last General Council meeting I sat in on, there was discussion of redefining the purpose or purposes of the fellowship. Has this been discussed more? Also, one last question, do the Yaya’s have a separate mission, vision, goals, and purposes? Thanks brother! I love you so much!

          1. Miranda,

            I think the vision and mission are in many ways relative to the vision of the current president, who in theory is the chief guide of our group strategy. The goals are vague because we in our hearts understand that the real ‘plan’ will always be greater than us as humans or organizations.

            As for the statement of purpose. It will go through change. The greatest challenge in an organization without an executive leader/ arbitrator is that it relies on group wisdom and the true group collaboration of inner partnership – immensely difficult and could arguably be the greatest challenge on Earth. Creating a purpose statement that accurately reflects the spirit of our groups leadings will always be an elusive task, and so should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, Id say that the vision and mission you mentioned are pretty accurate statements.

            Yes, YaYA is a standing committee of the Fellowship. It is part of the constitution and has a specific purpose that falls within the purview of the bigger, vaguer umbrella mission of the organization.

            If you’d like to talk shop over the phone, Ive taken an interest in our constitution as of late and would gladly chat about any specifics related to organizational structure and function.

            With love, admiration, and respect,

  9. Much can be learned from growing churches. Worship. Prayer. Singing. The focus on intellect is killing the Urantia “movement”. Experience God and let his love flow. Be humble.

    1. AlaYiTi Miranda Clendening

      I agree. There is so much mindal discovery in the Urantia movement but not enough heart connection usually. The power of group worship and loving association and working for common goals together cannot be underestimated. This is why so many people have such powerful experiences at conference where group worship and music and loving fellowship is incorporated with higher learning I think 🙂

    2. Stephen,

      Having pastored a church, I learned that, yes, much can be learned, and the worship, prayer, and singing is such a joy. Put another way, the wheel does not need to be reinvented. I think the Angels of the Churches are very interested. I love your artwork on Beam’s Doorway.

  10. “The Fellowship” will always survive – as far as there are at least a handful of dedicated souls working there, and with the necessary and needful financial support. God has brought it to my attention so clearly that: even if only 2 or 3 people work together for a good cause, and keep at it, prayerfully and diligently, there will always be great results and “the work itself” will continue.

    One or two major problems i see amongst readers:
    (i) The lack of respect and dedication to “institutions” or “organizations”. They have misunderstood the UB’s stance on the shortcomings of “organized religion”. They fail to see the benefits of “organized, well structured and well administered human institutions” – human institutions powered by a human-divine partnership.
    (ii) The failure to see and place a high premium on the role money plays in the work of the gospel. And the lack of appreciation or acknowledgment of the blessings associated with the giving of funds for the gospel work.
    Enough said. #Namaste

    1. AlaYiTi Miranda Clendening

      Just because a few dedicated people are making sure it survives, does not mean it is activating its full potential as an organization. That is why the numbers have dwindled in membership and conference attendees and new members. It needs a new rebirth of specific goals and purpose that people can dedicate themselves to being a part of new change, just as Teuvo is trying to point out. Much love!

  11. We have to strike directly at a very important objective here. “What did Jesus do?” Where are the Pastors or teachers or ministers in our midst? There has to be a better way of presenting the “undiluted” message of the gospel to the world – to people in villages, towns and cities. This would involve having a “structure” in place. This would involve “money”. Some teachers would have to commit at least 40 hours per week to the work. 4 hours of “volunteer” work is not sufficient. This is what i see looking at Jesus and his Apostles and Evangelists.

    This is not about forcing the entire UB down the throats of the masses. It’s not about “rushing” to get millions of humans to change their entire mindset instantly. That’s not the point. Rather, the point is having a sustainable impact on “the world-mind” with the simple, clear and undiluted gospel teachings as presented in the Urantia Book. Many souls will be saved, healed, delivered, spiritually enlightened, uplifted… Laborers are needed in the Master’s vineyard. More people, who can devote 30 or more hours weekly are needed to take the message of love, grace and truth to the ends of the Earth.

    Machiventa Melchizedek did it with his students. He had a headquarters in Salem (that is “STRUCTURE” or “ORGANIZATION”, folks). The Salem headquarters needed “funding” constantly. Remember Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek? smile emoticon Jesus did a similar thing with his Apostles, Disciples, Evangelists… They were funded as well. The Apostles couldn’t work full time at a job or business. Their families had to be supported. Jesus and his inner circle had to be supported financially as well. Matthew was “the money getter”. Believers gave cheerfully to Jesus’ Public Ministry. Judas was the treasurer.

    It is was it is folks. We can’t hide from or shy away from the reality and expect great results. I continue to say that a lot of us HAVE CLEARLY MISUNDERSTOOD OR MISINTERPRETED the UB’s take on “Organized Religion”. And we are paying dearly for it. #Namaste

    1. Well said Karo! As Believers, brothers and sisters to this Cause, it is necessary for all to give what they can to support it. Remember the widow’s mite? She gave all that she had…even if all was only a penny (a mite). A great lesson can be learned by her example. the gospels constantly encourage believers to give of their finances to further the Cause of God’s Kingdom. Give all that you can (on a regular basis) to the Urantia Book Fellowship, then see what happens!

    2. Karo, right on! Right on!
      Where are you, who are you? I wish we could meet and chat. I sense some major Thought Adjuster activity going on with you!
      I’m a teacher in Arizona.

  12. To me, it is easy to understand: We have to learn to strike directly for our objectives! Please, let’s not make it look complicated.

    “Strike directly for your objectives!”

    “Jesus continued to teach the twenty-four, saying: “…The heathen strike directly for their objectives; you are guilty of too much chronic yearning. If you desire to enter the kingdom, why do you not take it by spiritual assault even as the heathen take a city they lay siege to? …Cease your useless yearning and go forth bravely doing that which concerns the establishment of the kingdom.” – Urantia Book 155:1.3

    “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” – Jesus, Matthew 11:12. The violent ones take it by force – by spiritual assault! Glory!

  13. Chuck Thurston

    Hi Teuvo,

    Thank you for raising these interesting questions. I would argue that serious study of the book IS an important aspect of “living the teachings,” along with personal spiritual growth, meaningful service, and creative engagement with community.

    Why not consider a both/and approach? Instead of devaluing in-depth study, perhaps we should be asking how we can make such study more vital and relevant to the priorities that you are advocating.

    I like your suggestion that we use the revelation as a guide, but I think the greatest fulfillment of that potential is impossible without in-depth study, not as an isolated exercise, but as a balanced and integral component of our overall strategy.

    I’ve been studying the Urantia Book for many years, but I am still surprised by the new insights and new levels of comprehension that I invariably experience, even when revisiting familiar passages, and especially when reading and discussing the book with others.

    Speaking for myself, I can say that I have very much appreciated and benefitted from the Fellowship’s consistent and dependable efforts in putting on high quality conferences and study sessions over the years. In our zeal for outreach, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of developing the internal culture of our community. Each supports the other.

    178:1.5 …As faith-enlightened and spirit-liberated sons of the kingdom of heaven, you face a double responsibility of duty to man and duty to God while you voluntarily assume a third and sacred obligation: service to the brotherhood of God-knowing believers.

    What form does this third obligation take, in our case, as students of the Urantia Book? Studying the book together is not only a rare and tremendously valuable delight, it is essential, it seems to me, to the sense of belonging and camaraderie within our community.

    170:3.2 Though Jesus taught that faith, simple childlike belief, is the key to the door of the kingdom, he also taught that, having entered the door, there are the progressive steps of righteousness which every believing child must ascend in order to grow up to the full stature of the robust sons of God.

    Our mastery of true universe philosophy, as given within the pages of the Urantia Book, may very likely be one of these progressive steps. It prepares us for our outreach efforts by expanding our capacity for understanding and compassion, not only in relation to those who are living loyally within traditional cultures and religions, but also (and especially) in relation to the growing segment of the population that is looking for a new sense of spirituality in the mostly barren landscape of today’s Godless assumptions about reality.

    The spiritual message of Jesus’ gospel may seem simple and straightforward in its fundamental truth (which it is), but the implications of its acceptance are complex and far-reaching in the context of today’s rapidly emerging global civilization. The revelators gave us the other three parts of the book for good reason, and the comprehensive conceptual framing of both planetary and cosmic reality that they offer is not easily grasped (by most of us) without continuing study and reflective discussion with other readers.

    The Fellowship, as a living institution, must adapt to changing conditions, and reaching for new goals is important and exciting. But even so, I hope its leadership does not lose sight of the value of its core services in support of effective study and face-to-face gathering. These are the crucial factors that inspire our desire for the “dissemination” of the teachings, both through individual initiative and group efforts.

  14. Dear Teuvo,

    Thanks for a great article to stimulate our minds on the vision and direction for the Urantia Book Fellowship. We do have a Strategic Vision 2010-2020 that everyone can read at http://fellowshipinthefield.com/pdf/10yearstrategicvision.pdf

    We have 3 components to this vision: dissemination, support, and training. The details need to be worked out each year by committees.

    Thanks all of you for all the dialogue and valuable comments on this article.

    Cristina Seaborn

  15. Change for the sake of change is not always good. “Change without growth is evil” TUB. The main issue I see in TUB community is there are very few who are born of the holy spirit and taking up the challenge of seeing the world with faith-born eyes. Sure many have made the claim that they are, but I have only met one person in TUB community who actually is and that is Chris Halvorson. And that one person certainly has changed the community for the better. If more people could follow in his foot steps and be born of the holy spirit I think amazing things would happen.

  16. Ultimately it is unselfish spiritual love for other human beings that will shine a light in the hearts of others and spur them on to higher levels of living. Those who are in the kingdom “born of the holy spirit” are the only people currently able to shine this light into the hearts of men, women and children we should be seeking this kingdom like the heathen seeks his immediate goals. This should be our immediate goal.

  17. With God commanding in our hearts in full capacity, division would be impossible and all would flourish. He is the maker of Love. In the Urantia Book it says that love cannot be created, it simply exists. That means that God IS love, a love without beginning or end. If we claim to love and know God we must exhibit the fruits of the Spirit to ALL. 🙂 It is splendidly simply and elaborately difficult.

  18. Firstly, Thank you for your heartfelt desire to mobilize this amazing teaching. It really is a shame that the movement has not been able to grow even with the most amazing text in the world to work with. From studying the book and introducing it to others I would have to agree with other opinions that the seemingly complex and intellectual nature of the text is off-putting to the casual reader who is wary of religion at all at this point in society, especially a Christian based text.

    The Way the Urantia Community is organized needs to be changed. I have not observed any council or been to any Urantia gathering but with a such a vibrant living truth that touts evolution and modernity, We should be utilizing new age resources in order to spread the insight of Christ and love of God. I don’t see any organized efforts to help our Bible leaning (and in some cases pastor deceived) Brothers as I once was.

    The world needs the teaching of the Urantia Book and it seems the larger organizations are content on focusing inward with no emphasis on dissemination or influencing established christian avenues where it should/could naturally take root.

    The Revelation has been around for roughly 100 years. To us this is a relatively long time. There are teachings that suggest that we shouldn’t be so focused on the short term success of the revised/expanded message/revelation but there are also sentiments that we should be doing all we can to serve the Father and his kingdom regardless of immediate results. There are parts of me that feel this revelation will be ready for acceptance after another major world re-shifting, but I truly feel we should be sowing as many spiritual seeds now as possible.

    I am part of the new youth that have embraced the UB and most importantly its teaching. My newly found life vision is to help facilitate this spiritual knowledge. Teuvo I hope to meet you one day as I share your vision. I have many Ideas as I’m sure others do to help expand this spiritual amazingness. Bless!

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