Monday, January 3, 2011

28 December 2010 - Take 5 (or maybe Take 2, take 2)

I knew it. It never fails. I write something that I'm not all that happy with, and a few days later I need to go back and change it. Well, I'm not going to do that. I'll stick by what I wrote and, instead, just say that I've grown a bit since then. Yeah, I know. Crazy as it may seem, it does happen every now and then.

So what is it that happened? I looked at this message with a few other people.

Consult with a few people and your ideas get blown out the window. Sheesh. That'll learn me.

Anyways, looking back at paragraph 1, we asked a few simple questions that seemed to put this letter into more of a context for me. We wondered just what it was that the Counsellors were being asked to do.

And what is it that they are being asked? I'm glad you asked, dear Reader.

They are being asked to come to a clear understanding of how they, and their auxiliaries, can assist us in three different, but related, areas. The first is in "building on (our) extraordinary achievements extending to other spheres of operation the mode of learning".

And what does that mean?

Why ask me? I'm not a Counsellor. I don't really have much of an idea. Fortunately, however, I was with some pretty clever cookies who were able to explain it to me. It seems that we have made some wonderful achievements in learning how to learn. Unfortunately, it seems that this is often only applied in a few areas. With the help of the institution of the learned, however, we may be able to learn to apply this knowledge and pattern in other areas of life and service.

In other words, ones that I can understand, we are beginning to look back at whatever activities it is that we are doing and seeing what we can learn from those steps we are taking. If I invite someone over, for example, to a devotional gathering, it means that I see whether or not they attend. If they do, I ask myself why. What was it about them, or the invitation, that inclined them to accept. If not, why not. What was it about them, or the invitation, that disinclined them? Was the devotional gathering something that interested them? Was the invitation poorly phrased? Whichever way the respond, there is something for me to learn, and I can become more effective in my work.

The second thing the Counsellors were being asked to assist us in was "gaining the capacity to employ with a high degree of coherence the instruments and methods" we have been learning to use.

And that means? See my caveat above. And note my thanks to those others who helped me come to an understanding. (Not the "correct" understanding, or even necessarily a particularly good one, but just "an" understanding.)

It seems that we have many tools at our disposal, and these tools can be used in a number of ways. The instruments would be like the tools, and the methods would be our use of them.

What are some of these tools? Again, I'm not really sure, but they probably include things like the core activities, home visits, firesides, accompanying each other, the cluster growth profiles, the statistical report program, and so on and so forth. Whatever it is that we are reflecting on in the first step helps us employ these tools more effectively here. And more importantly, when we begin to see how all these tools relate to each other, when we see the coherence between them, we can apply them with greater accuracy and effect.

I should take a moment here to look at the word "coherence", for it comes up more and more often these days. It means to see the logical interconnection of the different elements. More on this when we get to paragraph 2.

The third thing they are being asked to assist us with is in "increasing well beyond all previous numbers the ranks of those who.... are labouring" in the field.

Interesting. It is not just about enrolments, or playing that numbers game, as some put it. It is about increasing the numbers of those who are doing the work of the Faith. Of course, they qualify it by adding in the phrase "alive to the vision of the Faith", which, I think, implies that these people are avowed declarants, but I'm not sure. After all, the level of commitment is much greater when they have declared this intention publicly.

It is also worth noting that the level of enrolments increases when we understand how all the activities are related, for we are no longer merely doing core activities, but are, instead, concerned about helping people move closer to their Creator, and learning how to develop spiritually. If someone has come to a devotional gathering, but has many questions that are answered in Book 1, then we can easily and naturally shift them into a study circle. Or vice versa. It all interconnects.

It begins by learning to really reflect on all our activities, continues by seeing that all these activities are part of a continuum of community building, and this leads to meeting the needs of different people's hearts. A to B to C.

I'd continue on with more about paragraph 2, but I have to go. I'm taking my son out to a butterfly garden today, before he goes back to school tomorrow.

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