Individual Initiative

Arise ye, under all conditions, to render service to the Cause, for God will assuredly assist you through the power of His sovereignty which overshadoweth the worlds.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶74

It is incumbent upon everyone not to take any step without consulting the Spiritual Assembly, and they must assuredly obey with heart and soul its bidding and be submissive unto it, that things may be properly ordered and well arranged. Otherwise every person will act independently and after his own judgment, will follow his own desire, and do harm to the Cause.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 42

It is the bounden duty of every American believer ... to initiate, promote, and consolidate, within the limits fixed by the administrative principles of the Faith, any activity he or she deems fit to undertake for the furtherance of the Plan.... Let him not wait for any directions, or expect any special encouragement, from the elected representatives of his community, nor be deterred by any obstacles which his relatives, or fellow-citizens may be inclined to place in his path, nor mind the censure of his critics or enemies.

Shoghi Effendi, Unlocking the Power of Action

The principle of consultation, which constitutes one of the basic laws of the Administration, should be applied to all Bahá’í activities which affect the collective interests of the Faith, for it is through cooperation and continued exchange of thoughts and views that the Cause can best safeguard and foster its interests. Individual initiative, personal ability and resourcefulness, though indispensable, are, unless supported and enriched by the collective experiences and wisdom of the group, utterly incapable of achieving such a tremendous task.

Shoghi Effendi, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities

This challenge, so severe and insistent, and yet so glorious, faces no doubt primarily the individual believer on whom in the last resort, depends the fate of the entire community. He it is who constitutes the warp and woof on which the quality and pattern of the whole fabric must depend. He it is who acts as one of the countless links in the mights chain that now girdles the globe. He it is who serves as one of the multitude of bricks which support the structure and insure the stability of the administrative office now being raised in every part of the world. Without his support, a once whole-hearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted, and every plan formulated, by the body which acts as the national representative of the community to which he belongs, is foredoomed to failure. The World Center of the Faith itself is paralyzed if such a support on the part of the rank and file of the community is denied it. The Author of the Divine Plan Himself is impeded in His purpose if the proper instruments for the execution of His design are lacking. The sustaining strength of Bahá’u’lláh  84  Himself, the Founder of the Faith, will be withheld from every and each individual, who fails in the long run to arise and play his part.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 83

We should avoid confusion on one hand and maintain efficiency on the other, and lay no unnecessary restrictions that would fetter individual initiative and enterprise.

Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Funds: Contributions and Administration, p. 15