Monday, May 11, 2009

The learning never stops in Austin

Austin, TX was one of the first A-stage clusters in the country. They’ve been through more than a few cycles of their intensive program of growth. With each cycle, the friends learn more, they refine their approaches, and they move ever forward. Here are some of the latest insights gained and steps being planned:

For this latest cycle, we moved the IPG headquarters to new location under another Local Spiritual Assembly in the cluster. This resulted in:

Raising new human resources

The new host LSA’s support for the teaching activities rose to a new level.

There was increased enthusiasm in the cluster.

Collective teaching in two neighborhoods attracted several new teachers. Participation was diverse: children, junior youth, youth and adults from all backgrounds. . . .

There was a strong prayer component for the teaching effort. Prayers were distributed to the cluster, and community-wide prayer gatherings held on every Saturday of the project with more than 50 participants, where friends stayed at the center while others went out to the field to teach. Very strong confirmations were felt by all teachers!

Several meetings took place for the first time, attended by the area teaching committee, Auxiliary Board member and host LSA to share the IPG plans prior to beginning of the cycle. It was very successful and the Local Spiritual Assembly’s support was present throughout the effort, both from individual members as well as formal decisions as an institution. There was also increased communications from the Local Assembly to the host community.

We’ve learned that we need to have clarity of roles and responsibilities for the area teaching committee, Auxiliary Board member assistants and cluster institute coordinators. There was a lot of pull and push for information during the last cycle and different members felt overwhelmed at different times. We need to define responsibilities clearer.

For the next cycle, we plan to Increase the number of friends engaged in the teaching work by broadening the scope of opportunities to participate in the IPG.

We plan to increasingly focus our teaching efforts into those neighborhoods where core activities are ongoing and/or the Bahá’ís may already be known.

We will also be more focused on offering to teach the family, friends, and neighbors of newly declared believers.

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