We have read about it happening. We have dreamed about it happening. Now, it is happening in cluster after cluster across the country. Served by extraordinary individuals, teamed together by their passion and commitment to teach, each are reaching out to neighbors with prayer, love and fellowship to new neighborhoods and hundreds of newly declared Bahá'ís.
In just a few short months, significant numbers of new believers have joined the Bahá'í community, due to new and more intense approaches in direct teaching, emphasizing systematic, supported, and collective teaching practices. Phoenix, Tucson, East Valley, Atlanta and Los Angeles are reporting staggering growth in only the first few days of their newly-launched expansion cycles. Phoenix reported 70 new believers. Tucson noted just over 40. East Valley reported over 100 in just 9 days; so many that the core team stopped the expansion campaign after their second weekend to focus effectively on consolidation. Los Angeles reached over 70 at the end of its second weekend. Atlanta brought in over 60 at the end of its first weekend and “warm-up” phase! News does not stop there. More enrollments are being reported with each new day of the cycles from these and other clusters.
What is the secret? It is truly not a secret, but experience. . . here are some tips from those who were there . . . . .
COLLECTIVE TEACHING CHECK LIST FOR INTENSIVE GROWTH LAUNCH
q Select neighborhood(s)
q Pray in the neighborhood(s)
q Knock on doors to test the receptivity
q Assign anchor person per neighborhood
q Assign and allocate teams based on capacity of the neighborhood (how many teams can operate and teach in an area before they run of out of units to go to).
q Anchor person “walks” the neighborhood many times in preparation to become familiar with the neighborhood addresses. This familiarity is crucial for both expansion and consolidation phases. In a collective teaching day the anchor person should know exactly where to guide or even accompany the newly formed teams to.
q Get Google (satellite) map of the neighborhood(s)
q “Train” the anchor person how to form, divide and guide the teams once in the neighborhoods (very important)
q Train and practice Anna’s Presentation several times
q Many of the friends need to see how to present and how to invite people to embrace the Cause
q Model and practice invitation to embrace the Cause
q Go in the field to get practice and experience
q Prepare teaching folders (Color coded or numbered per each team, area, apt etc.)
Include: declaration and child registration cards (English, Spanish) , small prayer books (English, Spanish), prayer cards (English, Spanish), Short Obligatory (English, Spanish) prayer cards for those who declare, Map of the neighborhood, phone # of the anchor person, Home Visit data capture and registration sheets.
Launch – Collective teaching day
q Go over the collective teaching concept
q Remind the friends of the spiritual nature of the process
q Make sure that every one knows that they have a role to play whether in the field or at home praying.
The following is done while in at the meeting:
q Divide the anchor people in separate locations in the room. Explain to the friends about each area of focus then ask them to go and join the anchor person in each section of the room. This process will allow the friends to join based on the individual initiative. The anchor person then explains in some details about the neighborhood and asks/guides the friends to form organic teams (2-3 never two males) right there. Teams should be formed based on: diversity, commitment to that neighborhood (at least throughout the expansion phase), language skills (Spanish, etc.).
q The anchor person then goes through the contents of the folder explaining in details about everything, in particular about the maps and how to capture the data and its significance to the success of the teaching campaign.
q Very important -- the anchor person makes it clear that upon return the teams need to keep a copy of the data for themselves and write/copy another one for the anchor person for the follow-up purposes.
q Due to the size of the groups and the collective teaching it is a good idea for the anchor person to designate a spot for the teams to meet together at the neighborhood once more before going out to teach. (not too much time should be spend there this is only to make sure about everything and do one final check before dispersing).
Final reminder—“Above all, the friends need to remain ever conscious of the magnitude of the spiritual forces that are at their disposition.” We are not out there alone.
q A return time for reflection is set (very important) usually the 2-2.5 hours in the field is the average
q The entire room prays together
q The Army of light leaves to conquer the countries through the love of God
q The teams meet at the designated spot and pray once more and then divide and go on to teach.