Monday, September 1, 2008


Here is a concise book review of the recent important publication from the International Teaching Center, with a Foreword by the Universal House of Justice.

The book is for sale through Baha'i booksellers/Publishing Trusts. Pasted at the end of this blog is the text of the book's introduction.

CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland, 1 September 2008


"Attaining the Dynamics of Growth"



What a very moving document indeed, seeing the friends in different continents engaged in the same activities as ourselves, striving to present Baha’u’llah’s Message ‘’in a manner both forthcoming and inviting’’ (message dated 27 December 2005 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors). This document picks one advanced cluster from each continent, gives us an account of their activities as they advance the process of entry by troops and finishes with an inspiring closing analysis.

For anyone who usually doesn’t read the introduction to a document or book or other, I would highly encourage you to read this introduction ( by the Universal House of Justice) as it puts you in the right frame of mind. A glimpse of the introduction; at the beginning the Universal House of Justice tells us ‘’you will, we hope, not be content only to read the narrative but will try to identify the principles, qualities, and approaches that have made possible the progress achieved.’’

First is London. We learn about their Intensive Programmes of Growth, how the teaching teams played a pivotal role in moving the process, utilising study circles as environments for teaching, their challenges and glimpses of their growth. I very much enjoyed the stories too.
Next up was Norte del Cauca (Colombia). This is where the Ruhi Institute was born. We read about the mobilisation of the friends to teach, the multiplication of core activities, being more systematic in their Intensive Programmes of Growth. As their human resources were increasing one of their challenges identified was to empower the friends to acquire a greater consciousness of their responsibility to contribute to community life. Joyfully at the end of this case study we are once again reminded that all of theirs activities were spiritual enterprises.
Bihar Sharif (India). An amazing story of how the Bahá’í community transformed from the grass roots up through the acts of individuals, how they manage large-scale expansion and consolidation and in building capacity in the next generation (children and junior youth).
Tiriki West (Kenya). We read about how the local population was very receptive to the Faith but consolidation was a major hurdle and how it was then addressed. We learn about community life, teaching teams and the rapid expansion of children’s classes and junior youth groups.
Finally we visit South Tarawa, Kiribati (located in the South Pacific Ocean). This case study focuses heavily on the involvement of youth in the process of expansion and consolidation. There is also a lovely piece on reflection meetings.

After the five case studies we come to the closing analysis. The closing analysis is like the ‘ending of a good book’ and so I shall not spoil it for you. Needless to say, reading each case study carefully will enhance your appreciation of the ending.


If you are a US-Baha'i, the whole book is available (with a password) through the national website ( in PDF-format (a pretty large file, about 60 MB).

Attaining the dynamics of growth

Glimpses from five continents

Prepared by the International Teaching Centre

Baháí World Centre

April 2008


To the delegates attending the Tenth International Bahá’í Convention . 2

London, United Kingdom . 5

Norte del Cauca, Colombia . 15

Bihar Sharif, India . 25

Tiriki West, Kenya . 35

South Tarawa, Kiribati . 45

Acceleration of Learning . 55

To the delegates attending the Tenth International Bahá’í Convention

In just a few years, the intensive programme of growth has emerged as a powerful means for the expansion and consolidation of the Faith on a large scale. Leading the process of learning that impels progress are scores of clusters where the friends have, through painstaking, systematic effort, come to understand how best to implement the cycles of activity that constitute such a programme. So instructive is the experience of these clusters, we asked the International Teaching Centre to choose one example from each continent and prepare a document that would demonstrate at once the diversity of conditions in which the believers everywhere are labouring and the coherent vision that unites them as they advance the process of entry by troops. The document consists of five case studies and a closing analysis. It is inspiring indeed, and we commend it to your study.

While the case studies offer an impressive account of the activity in each cluster, you will, we hope, not be content only to read the narrative but will try to identify the principles, qualities, and approaches that have made possible the progress achieved. What should become clear to you is how aptly the friends and institutions in the clusters have managed to exploit the framework for action referred to in our 27 December 2005 message to breathe the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation into places as diverse as the crowded city of London and the tiny island group of Kiribati.

Immediately apparent from the description of all five clusters is the degree to which the friends have relied on the power of divine assistance; this has fortified them in the field of action and enabled them to persevere in the face of inevitable difficulties. Equally evident is the sense of purpose that animates their endeavours—a purpose complemented by the attitude of learning they have espoused. Even more striking, however, is the way these attributes are perpetuated in the body of believers as it grows in size, for in all cases they have come to characterize not only individual action but also the community’s as a whole. So focused is the collective energy of the friends as they carry out the central tasks of the Five Year Plan, whether in taking individual initiative or participating in organized campaigns, that they are catching the first glimpses of what it means for their powers to be multiplied in unified action.

In reading the case studies, you will note how the approaches adopted and the system of administration employed serve as means for facilitating the dynamics of such unified action. In every cluster, fellowship and support are the watchwords in this respect. Whether they are paying a visit to a family’s home to draw them into a conversation about the Faith or helping one another to perform acts of service as part of their study of the institute courses, it is the joy of accompanying other souls on their spiritual journey that motivates the believers.

This same motivating force guides the institutions and agencies operating in the cluster in their efforts to administer the intensive programme of growth. Clearly the complexity of the coordination schemes in the five clusters varies to some extent. Yet, irrespective of the level of complexity, the administrative mechanisms in place represent a response to the desire of an increasing number of friends who are eager to express the ardour of their faith in action; these provide them with the support needed to participate in teaching teams, to host devotional meetings, to conduct children’s classes, to form junior youth groups, and to establish study circles. That the institutions and agencies involved are able to maintain such a responsive form of administration testifies to the high degree of organizational skill and flexibility they have attained.

In the closing analysis, the International Teaching Centre examines the strategies being employed to transfer the experience gained in advanced clusters, such as the five described here, to those in earlier stages of growth. The effect of such transference has been remarkable. What sometimes required several years for the friends in one cluster to accomplish can now be learned in another in a relatively short span of time. Often within a matter of months, as pointed out by the Teaching Centre, a dynamic pattern of activity, reflecting the equal emphasis placed on the twin processes of expansion and consolidation, can be established. Invariably, the believers take immediate ownership for the programme of growth, and unity of thought is soon reached. As they begin to put into practice what they have learned through the study of institute courses, especially related to direct teaching methods, they see their efforts confirmed and preconceived notions about the lack of receptivity fall away. Their commitment to the process of growth is raised to higher and higher levels as they are drawn into decision making at the reflection meeting. Plans laid down by the institutions and agencies serving the cluster become increasingly effective as their ability to interpret the experience acquired by the friends is gradually sharpened. They are able to think strategically, to set priorities, and to use resources judiciously. Moreover, they identify believers capable of shouldering added responsibilities in pursuit of plans and channel the energies of growing numbers in service to the Cause. The community thrives as it lovingly embraces new believers. In short, the process of capacity building in the three protagonists of the Plan accelerates at a tremendous rate. It is this development that heartens us most and which gives us confidence that the potential of the Five Year Plan will be realized.

The Universal House of Justice

Ridván 2008

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