Monday, November 30, 2009

Regional Council stimulates and encourages systematic grassroots seeker response

The national Seeker Response system involves the dedicated efforts of friends at the national, regional, and local levels working together to respond to souls that reach out to the Bahá’í community remotely, sometimes just for more information, and sometimes as new believers by declaring online. About a month ago, all of the Seeker Response “regional specialists” and members of the Regional Bahá’í Councils came together for an intense weekend conference, requested by the National Spiritual Assembly and hosted by the National Teaching Office at the Bahá’í National Center, to share experiences, identify best practices, and consult on how to make the system more effective. This gathering stimulated and inspired everyone involved.

A few weeks later, a Regional Bahá’í Council convened its own “mini-conference” for several clusters in a major metropolitan area in its region. Specifically invited to come were members of Local Spiritual Assemblies and Area Teaching Committees—one of the key goals was to build the capacity of Local Assemblies and Area Teaching Committees to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to respond to seekers, enroll new believers, and connect new believers to local friends and core activities. Each cluster consulted on how it could enhance its grassroots response to seekers and new believers. One particularly inspiring example is one cluster: it is at the C-stage of development, large in size, and has small groups of believers scattered across the cluster. Few in number, the believers have mobilized (and organized) themselves so they can more systematically respond to those individuals who reach out to the Bahá’í community. Here is a report from the regional specialist to a member of their respective Regional Bahá’í Council: . . .

Dear P,

I just had a delightful conversation with __ about the seekers and one registrant in the __ cluster. We reviewed the status of every seeker that was included on the list that was part of their materials for the conference.

First she said that all 3 of the friends from that cluster who attended the conference thought it was very valuable and that they learned a lot.

D, who lives in one side of the cluster, is willing to help follow-up with seekers via email or letter. __ has identified a couple of seekers that she thinks D can start with.

In the past week, a seeker from another side of the cluster contacted the Bahá’ís. __ is going to contact O, a Bahá'í in that area and ask if she is willing to be in touch with this new seeker and others who live in the western part of the cluster.

M and his wife have moved to the southern part of the cluster. They have started core activities and have had a recent declaration. Just a week ago, a seeker from their town contacted the Bahá’ís.

__ intends to enlist others in the cluster to help her follow-up with seekers. I suggested that she might want to keep in touch with the Auxiliary Board member about what she is doing. __ volunteered the idea that it might be good for all of the believers in the cluster who are helping with Seeker Response to periodically meet in person or by phone to collaborate on their initiatives.

I was very encouraged by my conversation.

Loving Bahá'i regards,


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