Study the Global Plan for the Betterment of the World: Part 4

The Regional Bahá’í Council invites community members of all Faiths to join in the study of the current global plan created by the Universal House of Justice.

« Part 3: Study paragraphs 5-7

Paragraphs #8-10 of the letter dated 30 December 2021, from the Universal House of Justice to the Continental Boards of Consellors:

[8] We are conscious that there are some regions and countries where the Faith remains at an early point of development, and there is a pressing need to ensure that what the Bahá’í world has learned about accelerating the growth process benefits these places as well. One important lesson that has become clear is the immense value, to a region, of a cluster where the third milestone has been passed. Once the friends in a given cluster have developed the range of capacities that such progress implies, and the means to disseminate insights and share experience about community-building endeavours are in place, then a swift acceleration of the work of expansion and consolidation in surrounding clusters becomes possible. With this in mind, it is imperative that during the Nine Year Plan the process of growth reach this level of intensity in at least one cluster in every country and every region. This constitutes one of the Plan’s chief objectives and it will call for the concentrated effort of many a consecrated soul. The International Teaching Centre is ready to work with you to implement several strategies to bring this about. Foremost among these will be the deployment of teams of international and homefront pioneers who are familiar with the framework for action and are prepared to dedicate significant amounts of time and energy to serving the Cause over a number of years. You will need to impress upon National Spiritual Assemblies and Regional Bahá’í Councils the urgency of encouraging believers who, following in the footsteps of so many heroic souls of the past, can arise to ensure that the light of the Faith shines bright in every territory. We look in particular to countries, regions, and clusters where strength and experience have accumulated to generate a flow of pioneers to places where help is needed, and also to provide support by other means. This flow of support is one more way in which the spirit of collaboration and mutual assistance, so essential for progress, manifests itself in systematic action.

[9] The accomplishments of the previous series of Plans—particularly the last Five Year Plan—could not have occurred without a tremendous advance in the teaching work. An important dimension of this work is the capacity to engage in conversations on spiritual themes, a capacity which was explored in our message to your 2015 conference, where we described how it is developed through participation in institute courses and by gaining practical experience. It is evident that the pattern of activity unfolding at the grassroots opens up a variety of settings in which receptive souls—sometimes whole families or peer groups—can take part in meaningful conversations which awaken interest in the vision of the Faith and the Person of Bahá’u’lláh. Over time, many such souls begin to identify themselves with the Bahá’í community, especially as they gain the confidence to participate in community life through service. Of course, the community welcomes any degree of association that a person would like to maintain, great or small. Yet to recognize Bahá’u’lláh as a Manifestation of God and accept the privileges and responsibilities that are uniquely associated with membership in the Bahá’í community is a singular moment in a person’s spiritual development, quite distinct from regular involvement in Bahá’í activities or voicing support for Bahá’í principles. Experience has shown that the environment created by community-building endeavours in a locality enables anyone who wishes to take this step to do so with relative ease. Wherever these endeavours are under way, it is important for the friends to remain mindful that the doors of the Faith are wide open and to give encouragement to those who stand at the threshold. And in areas where such endeavours have been well established for some time, many believers are discovering that a vibrant, expanding pattern of activity can naturally lead to families, groups of friends, and even clusters of households being ready to enter the Cause. For in spaces where the possibility of joining the community can be discussed openly and inclusively among those who share a sense of collective identity, souls can more easily feel emboldened to take this step together. Bahá’í institutions, especially Local Spiritual Assemblies, must adopt a mindset that allows for such developments, and ensure that any obstacles are removed.

[10] We ask you and your auxiliaries to help the believers, wherever they reside, reflect periodically on effective ways of teaching the Faith in their surroundings, and to fan within their hearts a passion for teaching that will attract the confirmations of the Divine Kingdom. Souls who have been given the blessing of faith have a natural wish to share this gift through conversations with relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers, and those previously unmet, seeking in every place and at every moment a hearing ear. Different settings and circumstances lend themselves to different approaches, and the friends should be occupied in an ongoing process of learning about what is most effective in the place where they are.

Discussion questions from the Regional Council

Paragraph 8
  1. Experience has shown that families and individual believers that “see themselves as belonging to an expanding nucleus” and are oriented towards “widening the circle of participation in their activities” are engaged in efforts that can be of “tremendous merit” for a cluster. What has been your experience with a group of friends forming and working together as expanding nuclei?
  2. There are a variety of ways that clusters of “proven strength” are learning “to disseminate insights and share experience about community-building endeavours” with surrounding clusters. Reflect on how clusters serving as a reservoir of experience and resources have been able to contribute to the progress of your locality. Are you working alongside them, or in spaces for reflecting about activities that are advancing the growth of the neighborhood or cluster?
  3. If you are considering pioneering, either homefront or international — What steps will you take to identify a pioneering team composed of those “who are familiar with the framework for action and are prepared to dedicate significant amounts of time and energy to serving the Cause over a number of years”? In preparation for pioneering, where can you go to gain experience with meaningful conversations that lead to teaching and starting new core activities?
Paragraph 9
  1. What have you learned about meaningful conversations which awaken interest in the vision of the Faith and the Person of Bahá’u’lláh?
  2. What are ways to develop your capacity to engage in conversations on spiritual themes?
  3. What is the nature of an environment created by community-building endeavours that enables anyone who wishes to accept Baha’u’llah to do so with relative ease?
  4. How would you describe the mindset of Baha’i institutions that fosters the development of open and inclusive discussion and a sense of collective identity, leading souls to feel emboldened to take the step to formally enroll in the Baha’i community together? 
Paragraph 10
  1. What opportunities can you make in the next few weeks to share the blessing of teaching the Faith to relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers, and those previously unmet?