Family, Church, Community, Kingdom

Tyler Hendricks

Three - Lessons From Our Models Of Success

It was Michael Balcomb, World CARP president, who told me that perfection is our enemy. Our dreams are often so magnificent that we refuse to recognize the value of a first real step taken toward realizing them. We are called to bring one new member each month. This goal is so intimidating that it can discourage us from even attempting to bring one person per year or per decade. Sometimes the small steps are the most meaningful, even if compared with the kingdom in all its glory they seem miniscule. Such is the weakness of utopians of all kinds.

Let us not let the glory of heaven blind us to the opportunities for small improvements on earth. Let not the fact that the following strategies may seem trivial and not worthy of our grand vision, deter us from recognizing their value. God can work through small steps. Recall the fate of Solomon, who built a temple for God and then virtually told God not to enter it because he thought it was too small: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less the house that I have builded?" (1 Kings 8:27; cf. 2 Chronicles 2:6) God may just love to dwell in your Bible study group or Cub Scout Troop.

A Lesson from the Universal Ballet

Policy

Action

Results

A real contribution to the world of ballet and of culture in general

Application of the lesson from Universal Ballet to the church

Policy

Projected Action

Projected Results

A lesson from the True World Group

Policy

Action

Results

Application of the lesson from True World Group

Policy

Projected Action

Projected Result

A lesson from the New Yorker Hotel

Policy

Action

Results

Application of the lesson from the New Yorker Hotel

Policy

Projected Action

Projected Result

A Lesson from the Oakland Church

The following strategies were very successful in the Oakland community, 1972-82, and were carried forward in the same area by CARP in the 1980s. The New York church under Rev. Kamiyama in 1973-76 and Dr. and Mrs. Durst in 1980-83 employed much the same strategies. Although I argued above that we cannot utilize these exact strategies today, in particular outside of a total family church environment, there are still very important lessons to be learned. I will argue that we can apply these methods in our family church. So let's look at this witnessing model a little more closely, with an eye to the lessons we can take from it.

Stable, Step-by-Step Educational Program

Step-by-step curriculum

Introductory lecture

Weekend workshop components

  1. Seven-day workshop that ends with the next 2-day work-shop and includes the revelation of True Parents as messiah. The attendance at the weekend workshop at the end of the 7-day is vital because it gives new life to see new participants reborn in the weekend workshop. The components of the seven-day workshop are mostly the same as the weekend work-shop, only more time is given to everything and the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed and intimate because of the commitment that the guests have made for the sake of being there.
  2. 21-day workshop: the goal is for the participants to make a long-term commitment to God and True Parents, such that they can join in actionizing.
  3. Lecturers: Lecturers are thoroughly familiar with the spirit of the entire program. Lectures in Oakland were common sense, biblical, with lots of humor and examples. When I attended an Oakland 2-day workshop in 1980, as a Ph.D. student participant-observer, I was struck with the focus on theodicy-how we can believe in God in the face of the world's evil. There was a good deal of emphasis upon the human portion of responsibility as well.
  4. Leadership: Americans out front, with non-Americans leading by supporting from the background. Mrs. Durst, Rev. Kamiyama and Dr. Seuk did not hunger to stand in the spotlight.
  5. Workshop staff and witnessing members: A successful system will produce both. Oakland had a stable core staff and clear hierarchical system. While expressing the most horizontal affection, it had the strongest vertical system I experienced.
  6. Facilities: It seems best to have them in a pleasant location out of the city-in a place where the people can connect with nature, get away from things, make noise and have sports. So adequate space is necessary. Other than that, it can be very simple, rustic and even Spartan. Sleeping-bag accommodations are fine. The Oakland workshops used an old barn, affectionately called the Chicken Palace. The lesson is that "form follows function." If it is suitable to accomplish the purpose, keep it. If it is not suitable, change it.
  7. Witnessing area: Traditional witnessing is area-dependent. You find success in a very specific environment, namely a place that young people associate with "the end of the rainbow," a place where their dreams might be fulfilled, a place that is the goal of their travels. Such areas are rare, but people are everywhere, normal people who are not on the road but are nonetheless unchurched and, as Thoreau put it, "living lives of quiet desperation." What we need is the right bait and hook for middle Americans.
  8. Actionizing program: Actionizing means putting the Principle into action back in "real world." The new member with his/her spiritual parent learns how to witness and fundraise, in a relatively relaxed environment that also includes a lot of study. The witnessing and fundraising bring the person a great deal of self-affirmation. The new member becomes part of a small group in the center (a trinity).

9. A spirit of joy: This is a component that is absolutely necessary. I remember the testimony of one sister who deter-mined to literally leap out of bed in the morning praising God. I was struck by the constant phrase, "that's great!" applied to everything that happened. There were signs in the bathroom reminding the users to "leave a plus." Positivity and gratitude were encouraged. I thought it a bit corny at the time, but realize now that it is a very effective psychological means to live a successful life. Robert Schuller, anyone?

Application of the lessons from the Oakland Church

I believe that we can and should apply these effective strategies in the context of a family church. We should develop and apply these methods in order to make them work in a less intense environment. In fact, I would go so far as to consider the family church to be an expanded form of the effective workshop. I find it helpful to categorize these strategies into four areas: worship, education, small groups and personal ministry. The spirit and impact of the introductory evening pro-gram is created in the worship service. The curriculum of the workshop series, two-day through 40-day, is provided through a variety of course offerings, including Sunday school, evening studies, retreats and so forth. The intimate personal contact is created in the small group ministry and counseling for person-al ministry.

Here is a brief elaboration of each of these areas.

Worship. Bridge the gap of trust-make the person willing to listen. A good Sunday Service that gives the experience of God is necessary. It can serve the purpose of the evening program. This means it must be seeker-friendly and to some extent culture-friendly. Effective churches place a great deal of emphasis upon the music, and normally it ranges from folk to rock style. The music is a time of worship. The "worship team" is also the choir/band, and they are seeking the same experience of God as everyone else-they are not performers, they are co-worshippers. A good Sunday Service means to bring the Holy Spirit, to give people spiritual food, healing, happiness and hope. This will be the topic explored in Chapter Four.

Education. Bridge the gap of understanding-develop the person's perspective through an education track. Once people are attracted to us, we must teach them. We cannot jerry-rig a workshop whenever there's a guest; we need to have a regular education program in place, basically a series of Principle presentations. And our teaching is clear but not doctrinal; it has a rich resource in the lessons of the Bible stories. Education should have a broad range of offerings, including evenings and weekends. Utilize the next component-small groups-as an environment for education. We will explore this further in Chapter Five.

Small Groups. Bridge the gap of commitment-develop the person's lifestyle. All growing churches have small groups, even just Bible study groups. This was also a key factor with Oakland, both in workshops and center life. Donald Miller found in his surveys that everyone said that the real life of the church is in the small groups. The Willow Creek leaders found that the bigger they became, the smaller they had to become. Small groups are essential to True Parents' ministry as well. Chapter Six will develop these themes of small group ministry.

Personal Ministry. Bridge the gap of offering-develop the person's gifts. A personal ministry means that the individual discovers the unique gift that is his or hers, and offers it to the world for the glory of God. The church exists to be the environment in which this takes place. The church is not for the purpose of displaying the glory of the pastor. It is the place to bring out the glory of every individual. In Unification parlance, personal ministry translates into Tribal Messiahship. The purpose of church leadership is to empower Tribal Messiahs! Chapter Seven will unpack this exciting topic.

I will in the next four chapters explain further these four components of church community life. I believe that they are nothing other than the "family system" that Father wants us to use. Following that I will discuss what Father has been calling for over the past few years: restructuring the American church by practicing the family system.

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