South Bay, CA (A) has recently launched its first intensive teaching effort. This report, conveying comments of a couple of believers, is interesting because it gives a snapshot of everything that was happening in the weeks leading up to that historic point. Here are some of the key accomplishments that helped bring the friends to their first IPG! Note the importance of the youth and Local Spiritual Assemblies, a strong emphasis on teaching teams, and focused (and sometimes quite creative) action.
We have finally been able to engage our youth. It was helpful to find a young adult who is very dynamic and thus able to relate with them and keep them excited. The youth meet once a week for a research seminar where they learn to investigate the Writings to find answers to their questions and questions raised by their friends. Simultaneously, they’re being trained as animators of junior youth groups, by starting with the study of “The Spirit of Faith” followed by Book 5. They have found venues to socialize as well, such as getting together to break the Fast. . . .
Two separate meetings of the Auxiliary Board member with three Local Spiritual Assemblies each took place during the past month to study the guidance on intensive programs of growth and the roles of Local Spiritual Assemblies, as well as to consult about the ongoing regular teaching activities such as large firesides and deepening sessions. These meetings proved very helpful in increasing the understanding of the friends and engaging their participation in the formation of teaching teams. The participation of Core Team members enriched the consultation.
An orientation for teaching teams took place with the participation of the Core Team. This provided the friends with the opportunity to study the guidance from the World Centre and utilize a suggested planning sheet resulting in the formation of at least 5 teams who will begin to work in identified neighborhoods and with the community of interest starting now and continuing throughout the first IPG cycle.
We have learned that having focused meetings with specific purposes (such as a Book 3 refresher or a teaching team orientation/Book 6 refresher) is an effective approach to mobilize the friends. We will also have an intensive-format study of Ruhi Book 5 (“Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth”) for the youth.
And here are some of the key elements of their first intensive teaching phase:
We plan to explore a new predominantly English-speaking neighborhood in a central location in the cluster before the launch of the expansion phase.
We will continue teaching in the predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood that we have been previously visiting, as well as begin teaching efforts in an adjacent neighborhood where 3 of our 4 most recent declarations have taken place. It is also mainly Spanish-speaking.
We will try to have a Spanish-speaking person on each teaching team. If this is not possible, we will have a resource person “on call” by cell-phone during the teaching in these neighborhoods, to assist as needed.
Our goal is to accomplish the formation of 10 teaching teams who commit to a plan of action for the 3 month cycle, either in the above-mentioned neighborhoods or with their own community of interest.