Monday, November 23, 2009

Firesides and COI: a winning combination

This article from the cluster newsletter of Phoenix, AZ (A) describes a new approach being tried out by some of the teaching teams there: a focus on firesides with their community of interest. There are several things that caught my eye. First, they are operating in a systematic, learning mode, regularly reviewing their activities and experiences, and making adjustments as they reflect and consult. This allows them to identify any “gaps” or areas where they could shift more of their effort and energy. Second, they are motivated by a desire to make the expansion phase of their intensive program of growth truly, well, “intense”. Third, the members are united in supporting each other. Oh, and the approach itself of firesides with COI is very interesting and seems to be working very well!

One of the teaching teams asked themselves during the planning phase, How can we make sure we have intensity of action during the forthcoming expansion phase? So they reviewed their regular schedule of activities. They saw they had weekly Ruhi Book 1 study circles with seekers, a monthly devotional gathering, and a few home visits. But the teaching team realized none of the team members had any firesides going on in their personal lives. . . .

So, for that expansion phase, they decided they would focus on inviting their community of interest, friends and seekers to firesides and thus have intensity in their teaching work. The team members each invited participants in the study circles and devotional gathering to firesides. They decided they would keep their firesides intimate—just with them and their close friends. This has resulted in 3 new firesides a week. Go team!

The team members also decided that when one person is holding a fireside, the other team members will be praying for them in their homes, thereby supporting each other. In addition, in order to capture the learning while trying this approach to teaching, the team regularly draws on the power of prayer, reflects, shares and consults on their collective experiences. They then revise their plans as needed, and continue to step into the field of action as called for by our beloved Universal House of Justice.

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