Friday, June 25, 2010

Starting a conversation with the clusters

Growth requires decentralization in many aspects of how we do things.  And decentralization requires—you guessed it—capacity building at the cluster level.  One area where particularly exciting developments are occurring is in learning how to respond to those individuals that reach out to the Bahá’í community through the 800-22UNITE phone line and the public Web site  Here, a regional seeker response coordinator shares some of the most significant recent learning with friends at the cluster level.  This is a beginning of a conversation that will help empower more of the friends on the ground, both widening and deepening the pool of human resources!
Dear friends,
In April, the seeker response representatives that serve at the regional levels across the U.S. had a conference call to share insights about this amazing process we're engaged in:  to effectively respond to those dear souls to reach out to us to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith!  I thought you might be interested to hear some of the ideas that were shared.  I'm sure, with all of your experience, many of these will be familiar joys and challenges.  And, I hope others will serve to expand and/or enhance your service.  Of course, if you all have any additional insights or questions, please do feel free to share! . . .

1) Rapid response is crucial!!
2) A phone response, when possible, is much more effective than email or post mail, for most individuals.
3) When email is used, dynamic emails that give the seeker things to do and links to click on are very effective.
4) It takes time to follow up with seekers and nurture their learning.  Utilizing local resources (e.g. other teachers in the area) is essential.
5) Entering in detailed notes on the Action Log (and all of the drop-down items such as “started core activities”, etc.) and the Future Action feature is very important.
6) Follow up with older seekers and re-establish contact.
7) Listen effectively and be ready to adapt your approach based on what they say.
8) Offering to share Anna’s conversation with a seeker can warm their hearts and help strengthen a connection with them.
9) Engage the Area Teaching Committee.
10) Use the framework of action describe in the 5-Year Plan when responding (e.g. make a home visit, offer Anna's conversation, have a devotional with the seeker, start Book 1, etc.).  As much as possible, go to the seeker instead of inviting the seeker to you!

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