Intensive Program of Growth

As currently conceived, an intensive programme of growth is straightforward, simple and effective, but implies a level of exertion that tests the resolve of the friends.  Conforming well to the vision we presented five years ago, it employs a few measures that have proven to be indispensable to large-scale expansion and consolidation.  It consists of cycles of activity, in general of three months' duration each, which proceed according to distinct phases of expansion, consolidation, reflection and planning.

Universal House of Justice, 27 December 2005 to the Continental Boards of Counsellors

From another perspective one thinks in terms of the three-month cycles of activity through which the community grows – the burst of expansion experienced as a result of intense action; the necessary period of consolidation during which increases in ranks are fortified as they, for example, participate in devotional gatherings in the 19 day Feast and receive visits at their homes; and the opportunities designated for all to reflect and plan.

Universal House of Justice, 12 December 2011, Message to all National Spiritual Assemblies

Key to the progress of an intensive programme of growth is the phase dedicated to reflection, in which the lessons learned in action are articulated and incorporated into plans for the next cycle of activity.  Its principal feature is the reflection meeting--as much a time of joyous celebration as it is of serious consultation.  Careful analysis of experience, through participatory discussions rather than overly complex and elaborate presentations, serves to maintain unity of vision, sharpen clarity of thought and heighten enthusiasm.  Central to such an analysis is the review of vital statistics that suggest the next set of goals to be adopted.  Plans are made that take into account increased capacity in terms of the human resources available at the end of the cycle to perform various tasks, on the one hand, and accumulated knowledge about the receptivity of the population and the dynamics of teaching, on the other.  When human resources increase in a manner proportionate to the rise in the overall Bahá’í population from cycle to cycle, it is possible not only to sustain but to accelerate growth.

Universal House of Justice, 27 December 2005 to the Continental Boards of Counsellors

Where a programme of growth has been established in a previously unopened cluster, we see how the initial stirrings of activity arise out of the love for Bahá’u’lláh held in the heart of a committed believer. Notwithstanding the orders of complexity that must eventually be accommodated as a community grows in size, all activity begins with this simple strand of love. It is the vital thread from which is woven a pattern of patient and concentrated effort, cycle after cycle, to introduce children, youth, and adults to spiritual ideas; to foster a feeling for worship through gatherings for prayer and devotion; to stimulate conversations that illuminate understanding; to start ever-growing numbers on a lifetime of study of the Creative Word and its translation into deeds; to develop, along with others, capacity for service; and to accompany one another in the exercise of what has been learned.

Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Message 2015

A new programme of growth begins as two nascent capacities develop. First, one or more friends in a cluster must be able to help individuals study the institute’s sequence of courses and accompany them as they initiate core activities. Then, these individuals must be able to attract others to participate in the core activities. As efforts along these lines have borne fruit in various parts of the world, the institutions concerned set aside exaggerated expectations of what must be achieved before a new programme of growth can be said to have emerged.

International Teaching Centre, Insights from the Frontiers of Learning, p. 9