Monday, September 21, 2009

Making waves with permanent teaching teams

East San Diego County, CA (A) has begun another cycle of its intensive program of growth. One thing that struck me as I read the reports from their cluster newsletter (we are seeing more of these popping up around the country) is that once you have the human resources, you can really start making waves! They have in place several strong teaching teams, communities throughout the cluster are actively participating, and they literally got showered with additional help from a summer youth teaching project. Here is a summary of the first couple of weeks:

The third cycle for our cluster began with a cluster reflection gathering. Every community was represented, and 6 permanent teaching teams were formed to ensure continuing activity throughout the cluster after the two-week expansion phase. . . .

A neighborhood was selected to be the focus of teaching activities. Teams included Bahá’ís from every East County community as well as supporters from the San Diego cluster. We also had the bounty of being blessed with the presence of some 48 outstanding youth from all over southern California, who were participating in a summer youth teaching project.

We now have a total of about 70 receptive contacts made during the expansion phase. During this cycle we had one seeker participating in the prayer chain and another went out teaching with us one evening.

A very interesting part of the newsletter is the following description of a teaching team, something that has emerged from the friends’ experiences on the ground:

During the last cluster reflection meeting, the concept of “permanent” teaching teams was introduced. A teaching team is a group of friends who meet regularly to support each other in their teaching efforts.

A teaching team can have 4 to 8 members. It’s entirely up to the teams to decide on numbers.

Team members come together to deepen, pray, eat, consult on teaching, share insights, reflect, plan, engage in firesides and core activities.

Teams are encouraged to have at least one tutor and one children’s class teacher so that the core activities can be supported and sustained in the community.

There are already 6 teaching teams formed across the cluster. The goal is to have at least 10 teams with an average of 5 members during this cycle.

Starting a teaching team

To start a team in your area, talk to your friends in your community. The most effective teams are those composed of people who are close friends, family members or close neighbors. If you have a smaller team, please consider reaching out and inviting someone who lives nearby to join you. If you have a larger team with several tutors, you may want to set a goal to split and form two smaller teams. Select a team member to communicate with the area teaching committee regarding your activities, successes, problems and learning so we can share amongst all the teams and with the Regional Bahá’í Council.

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