Friday, May 13, 2011

8 June 2005 - International Teaching Centre, Observations on Intensive Programs of Growth (IPG)


8 June 2005 

To all Continental Boards of Counsellors

Dearly loved Co-workers,

In the last few months the process of growth on every continent has continued to gather pace as cluster after cluster has reached the stage where intensive programmes of growth can be initiated. In analysing the associated learning, drawn from the experiences you have shared with us, we have identified several patterns of action which have proven effective, as well as certain pitfalls which should be avoided. We wish to take this opportunity to share with you a few observations that we hope will be of assistance in your ongoing efforts to promote further programmes of growth and to maximise the effectiveness of the existing ones.

Care should be taken that the planning work does not take too long and place an undue delay on the start of the programme. Further, the plan of action, particularly in the early cycles, should remain simple and be presented at the reflection meeting with clarity so that it can be easily understood, eliciting the friends’ willing and enthusiastic participation.

In the short expansion phase, the intensification of effort is focused on teaching the Faith. This entails going beyond proclaiming the message, merely conveying information, or holding a few events. What has proven effective in many clusters is the formation of teaching teams, campaigns of home visits, or carefully designed teaching projects, with the aim of maximising the opportunity for profound teaching encounters.

As would be expected, experience demonstrates that the more closely the teaching efforts and approaches have been related to the capacities acquired from the study of institute courses, the more fruitful has been the outcome. For this reason, in many instances offering refresher courses, particularly sections of Ruhi Institute Books 2 and 6, immediately prior to the start of the expansion phase, has proven highly beneficial.

In clusters with great receptivity, whether urban or rural, the friends should not hesitate in enrolling new believers, mistakenly assuming that they must first be involved in core activities. Rather, following their declaration new believers should immediately be incorporated in core activities during the consolidation phase and receive deepening visits.

In clusters where receptivity is lower, focusing on teaching the existing community of interest during the expansion phase has proven extremely successful. Additionally, teaching acquaintances, family, neighbours and colleagues in this phase, leads many souls to become attracted to the Faith and participate in core activities. Goals related to enrolments in these clusters can be set with respect to the entire cycle rather than just the expansion phase.

We hope that at the upcoming meetings of the Boards your attention will continue to be focused on the forward movement of the clusters during the critical next few months ahead without any interruption. The remarkable progress that has been made in advancing the process of growth on every continent owes much to your tireless and dedicated exertions. As you continue in this direction, you will assist the communities to ensure a triumphant conclusion to the Five Year Plan, and a seamless transition to the “even more ambitious undertaking” that lies ahead. Be assured of our fervent supplications at the Sacred Threshold that the Lord of Hosts may confirm your devoted labours.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

The International Teaching Centre

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