Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Action, Reflection, Refinement - Colorado Springs’ First Expansion Phase!

Just three days into their first intensive program of growth and the new ly-advanced Colorado Springs, CO (A) cluster has plenty to be proud of, including one individual who has already been moved to declare his belief in Baha’u'llah through their efforts. Though these friends have six more days of teaching left in the expansion phase (who knows what could happen by then???), I couldn’t resist sharing this interim report coming straight from the thick of the action. So many things about this report - from the systematic planning, to the consistently intensive action, to the adaptation on-the-fly by the Area Teaching Committee - exemplify one of the most heartening aspects of the Five Year Plan - that the initial programs of growth of newly-raised A clusters are getting continuously better, more systematic, and more effective as they benefit from the lessons learned by the clusters that have gone before them. Any B clusters gearing up for advancement would do well to study the following and accounts like it. Exciting!

Saturday 27 October 2007 – Monday 29 October 2007

Saturday 27 October, 2007 - 39 individuals participating in13 teaching teams attempted 391 visits, with 137 face-to-face, 96 positive, and 38 needing further follow up. 28 were to Hispanics.

Morning: Cluster reflection meeting

Afternoon: Teaching teams oriented to the materials and process, then sent on visits focusing on nearby apartments with Honduran immigrants, transient men, families. 1 declarant.

Evening: Fireside and devotional at the Bahá’í Center; seekers in attendance all FFNC (friends, family, neighbors, co-workers) personal contacts. No new contacts attended.

After the first day of teaching, the ATC realized the need for quick data turnaround where reports from teaching teams could be filtered for contacts needing immediate follow up that could not wait until the consolidation phase. ATC worked late to produce a summary and follow up plan for day two.

Sunday 28 October, 2007 - 23 individuals participating in 12 teaching teams attempted 341 visits, with 108 face-to-face, 71 positive, and 26 needing follow up. 17 were to Hispanics.

Morning: Community devotions followed by adult and children’s classes. Teams reformed and planned together.

Afternoon: Teams continued to reach out to new neighborhoods and did some follow up visits.

Evening: Fireside at Bahá’í Center with two adult and four children seekers

Day two focused on follow up and expanded ‘first visit’ scope to two more neighborhoods. Found more stability and receptivity in Western Terrace housing complex. More diverse, but fewer recently arrived immigrants. New contacts that came to the center that evening were picked up and accompanied there by their teachers. The ATC redesigned data collection forms based on feedback.

Monday 29 October, 2007 - 9 individuals participating in three teaching teams attempted 52 visits, with 28 face-to-face, 13 positive, and four requiring further follow up. One was to a Hispanic.

Morning: Consultation with teams and coordinators to refine action. Decided to focus on two more housing areas and mostly follow up.

Afternoon: Teams went to the military base, to nearby houses and made follow up visits.

Evening: Fireside at Bahá’í Center with four adult seekers and six children

Day three focused on more ‘second visits’ as well as exploring some single family homes adjacent to center. Found some receptivity. By evening, with at least 68 contacts needing follow up, and with a decrease in resources during the week days, the team decided to focus solely on follow up with receptive contacts instead of broadening scope. Also realized need for out-of-town teachers to hand over contacts to local teachers by the end of the week.

Organization of IPG and Key Learning

The ATC initiated a prayer campaign starting before the expansion phase on the Birth of the Báb, with teams at the center during active teaching, continuing through the Birth of Baha’u’llah. Some of those not comfortable or unable for some reason to join teaching teams have supported the project through the prayer campaign and by providing food, cleaning the center, etc, creating an atmosphere in which different people with different skills and talents are able to participate.

The ATC initially plotted out neighborhoods for teams to visit, creating packets of teaching materials with maps, bilingual invitations, pamphlets, children’s materials and prayer cards. The team constantly reviews and refines the teaching packets, engaging junior youth and youth in rebuilding packets each evening. One core team member is also on call at all times to trouble shoot with teams, provide new materials or redirect teams that finish early to other areas needing follow up.

The initial approach of teams has been to connect with the neighboring housing and inform them about the programs offered at the center, Baha’u’llah’s message of unity and the role of the center in creating unity. Then evening programs include multilingual devotions and music, a video presentation, short talk and concurrent children’s programs, with some direct teaching continuing one-on-one with contacts. The ATC recognizes the need for some of the contacts to go directly into study circles beginning next week, as well as coordination of planned consolidation visits.

Youth want to come to the center after school to join teaching teams and just be with the friends, where the spirit generated by the teaching and evening activities has attracted new contacts and also reenergized the interest of the existing community of interest.

In Total:

total of 46 individuals participated in teaching teams

30 from CO13, 11 from other Colorado clusters, 4 from other states

11 youth (10-17 yrs) joined teams from Sunday to Monday

791 attempted contacts

273 successful contacts (someone opened the door)

180 positive responses

74 needed follow up

1 declaration

Of the 180 positive responses, 46 are known to be Hispanic = 26%


Teaching blog said...

Nov 2, 10:45 AM

I am blown away. I can’t wait for us to do 800 home visits in our community!!

prema |

Teaching blog said...

Nov 5, 12:50 PM

At the close of the initial expansion phase there were 10 declarations!

Elham |