Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meeting people where they are

“If you want me to be involved, you’ll have to meet me where I am.”  The friends in Savannah, GA (A) have completely taken that concept to heart.  Through consultation, a spirit of service, and a flexible approach, they have refined everything from reflection meetings to core activities, thus widening the circle of people involved the teaching work and community life.
Attendance at the last couple of reflection gatherings had been rather low, so we examined the format and had frank consultations with a few community members.  As a result we streamlined and reduced the length of the meetings, provided lunch and child care, and attempted to make the process more accessible by using simpler terms and explaining who the core team is and how they can assist individuals.  We also tried to look at the “bigger picture”, and review the real purpose of our core activities and teaching efforts, which is to assist in the transformation and the betterment of society. . . .

As a result of these simple changes, approximately 10 new people attended the reflection gathering.
The core team has also invited other friends with less experience in the core activities to accompany them until they gain confidence.  This is working really well and as a result will increase our available resources.
3 teaching teams have been visiting 3 families, each of which have been unable to attend existing core activities because of busy work schedules and other circumstances.  We have also learned that offering children’s classes at a set time and place is not convenient for many individuals, and that we need to offer neighborhood classes in their homes.  So these teams are ensuring that the children are able to participate in children’s classes in their own home; the teams also try to study Book 1 or share the Book 2 deepening themes with the parents while building friendships.  These activities have been very well accepted, and the Bahá’í families are very grateful that they can be involved in the core activities.  As a result of this, a small number of junior youth are excited about starting a junior youth group.

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