For forty years Father has commanded us to witness and convert at least one person each month. This goal of Father is clearly stated, repeated constantly and its significance is explained in detail endlessly. Father is desperate to save lives. He wants us to be desperate too. Our first thought on waking should be witnessing and the last thought before falling asleep should be the longing for a new spiritual child. Did you see the movie Schindler's List of a non-Jewish man saving thousands of Jews from the death camps?
Father tells us to teach with videos
Father has told us to witness with videos. Some people read; everyone watches videos. I look forward to the day when UC headquarters makes great videos. Eventually Hollywood will make them. Father said, "From now on, we will not witness in the old style but through videotapes. ... All you have to do is push the button. You can educate people while you relax." (May 1, 1981). Father says our number one responsibility is to teach. He practices what he preaches. He constantly teaches. He says, "the primary function of the Unification Church members is ultimately to educate people." I talked to Helen Andelin on the phone and encouraged her and her husband to make videos. Her book is a best seller, but it would be especially powerful if we could see them and hear them.
Witnessing is our primary job
Father says, "witnessing is your primary job and the job I give you today. I declare this an emergency situation for America ... When you see young people spiritually dying out there, you should be more passionate than I am, crying out for their salvation ... If you sit still, you will die. You have to work, to restore, to inject life. ... You are the small Reverend Moon in your area. You are the savior to your state and city. ... You are in a very serious situation ... You must hurry! You must have the 'can do' spirit and work hard ... our primary mission is to increase membership ... I have been emphasizing the formula 1-1-1 . Why haven't you accomplished this?" (March 1989). Are we ashamed?
Let's do better than the Jehovah Witnesses
The Jehovah Witnesses are not ashamed of who they are. They are so proud they relentlessly knock on doors saying who they are and giving literature. They have a plan. In my research over the years I've studied successful groups to see how they organize themselves. I spent time with Jehovah Witnesses. Because I know the Principle, they had to call in one of their big guns to answer my questions. Even he couldn't figure out how their beliefs could overcome the obvious flaws I saw in their theology. The Principle is the whole truth, and it is easy to annihilate people's illogical, science fiction beliefs. The problem I had was their power to cream us in witnessing. It is an awesome sight to be in their church knowing that everyday people in thousands of other churches are doing what I saw. Once I was in a church on a weekday afternoon and witnessed one of the most powerful scenes of my life. Every street of the town had been mapped out and a team of local members came in after being out knocking on doors for hours. Another group of assorted old and young, single and married people were there to pray with them and pass the baton. Some who had been witnessing had the day off from work and were going out again. They all talked a little and figured out who was going where and for how long. Then they prayed for victory. Everyone was nice and courteous. When they left I asked the man who I had come to see some questions on how they organize witnessing. He explained they had done this for so many years world wide that it was like breathing. His grandmother lived in another city, and he knew she was out that day as she had witnessed every day in her neighborhood for years. It is humbling to see these people in action and sad to compare us to them.
Recently there was a cover story on the front page of our local newspaper showing a father, mother, and two teenage daughters standing in a large crowd at a Jehovah Witness convention at a nearby rented hall. The article profiled this family. The Father was around 40 years old and said about 10 years earlier he and his wife were thinking of looking for some place spiritual. They were hippie types. He said he had long hair and had never been religious. But he and his wife were feeling empty. A man came to their door, they invited him in and soon they were knocking on doors with a desperation to save lives. The picture showed a clean-cut, nice, conservative looking family that bore no resemblance to the undisciplined past he described. Are they happy? They say they have meaning in their life. God is part of their life. He said he was drawn to them because Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations -- teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19)."
The reporter asked him if it was difficult to witness. He said it wasn't easy, but he couldn't imagine not doing it because this is how to best love people. He said, as all Jehovah Witnesses will tell you, they have the "true" church because no other church has every member witnessing. I once told one of them about the UC, and that it believes in witnessing. He said, "No one has come to my door. I've never heard of anyone who said they had come to their door so it couldn't be the 'true' church." What could I say?
Witnessing is selling
Witnessing is selling. One of the top sales trainers in America is Brian Tracy. I enjoy listening to his tape series such as the Psychology of Selling, The Psychology of Achievement and reading his excellent Maximum Achievement. I once watched a video of his at the Seattle Library. He is a master teacher. To help illustrate my point of being successful at persuasion and making the sale (and it illustrates how the UC talks to each other), he told the story of two salesman. One came in the office and began telling the salesman who had just returned to the office, "I had a great presentation this morning!" The other salesman replies, "Yeah, I didn't sell anything either." Covey is a motivational speaker who is now popular. He tells in his audio tape on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the example of a group cutting its way through a jungle, perfecting it's machete training courses, etc. when someone climbs up a tree and looks over the forest and yells back, "Wrong jungle!" The leaders below get mad and shout back, "Shut up! We're making progress."
It is inspiring to read Jerry Falwell describe in his autobiography how he started his church by taking a map of his town in Virginia, drawing a circle around where his little room was and going door-to-door. Soon he trained a few men to do this and eventually he had thousands of members. Robert Schuller is the longest running preacher on TV. For 25 years he has been a motivational speaker. Once he came to the city I lived in to give his inspiring message. I went to see him along with thousands of others. I would go to hear a member of the UC speak if I knew he had been successful in witnessing. Why don't we have inspiring people like that? Motivational speakers are powerful because they have done it and they can teach it. Schuller has built a church from nothing. He writes of how difficult it was to get started all alone. Guess how he did it? He went door-to-door. He tells of how hard it was to knock on the first door. He sat in his car for 20 minutes getting the courage up. Finally he did and eventually he built a crystal cathedral. Name me one American brother who has accomplished more. Why not. We have the truth. We have the living Messiah giving the greatest motivational speeches in history. We have the Divine Principle. Why don't brothers do it? American brothers are too socialist/feminist. In a Today's World I read of a sister who got elected to a state legislature. How sad can it get when an ACC regional leader sits around talking politics with his other ACC state leaders, and his wife goes out and becomes a state senator and he stays home to do the dishes. It is a socialist/feminist, i.e., Satan's dream come true -- a weak man and a disorderly woman.
Mary Pride has some interesting ideas on witnessing. She is not happy about Christianity focusing on church buildings instead of people's homes. Centralization seems more impressive and powerful but grass roots is how you win. I remember reading a while back about the movie The Sound of Music. When it came out every major movie critic slammed it. So sales were slow. But something interesting happened. Word of mouth. It went on to become the greatest musical hit ever. Nothing is more powerful than grass roots. Father, as usual, knows this and has always focused on decentralization. Just as soon as something gets built up he sends people to other areas. In the real world of capitalism where you have to produce, sales managers (leaders) have to have real world skills of training people to actually achieve, not report how hard they tried.
Focus on home, not headquarters
Mary Pride rightly teaches that religious people are wrong to focus on headquarters and big buildings. They should witness from their home. She says men have overlooked the power of women in fulfilling their role as described in Titus 2:3-5. They could be the most powerful ministry on earth. She says a woman can "create a gracious home for her family" and use it "for a wider flock. She knows the Bible and how to answer serious questions. She knows how to create a warm and loving atmosphere and is sensitive to people's needs in the way only a mother learns to be. She has, in short, been trained to be an evangelist." I remember seeing other books at the Christian book store near me that had a whole section on Christian women witnessing. I remember two titles that stood out. One was No More Lone Ranger Moms and another was titled Titus 2 Ministry. Instead of depending on Father being a superman to witness for us by persuading big shot leaders in this world to send their followers to be blessed and knowing nothing of three day ceremonies, let's become super families to attract many people with heavenly hospitality. As Mrs. Pride says then "Instead of fishing for souls with a pole, bent paperclip, and worm, you can start scooping them in with a net!"
She mentions several books as guides on how to accomplish this. The first is by Alvin Jennings called How Christianity Grows in the City. Mary Pride says he teaches that we should "readopt the New Testament scheme of using the homes of qualified church members for basic work of the church, with occasional large-group meetings in rented facilities." Another book she mentions is House Churches Among the Churches of Christ During the 1980s. One example from the book was a church in Lexington, Massachusetts: "Set up as a 'normal' church, in 1979 it had shrunk to forty members. In six years after adopting a format increasingly reliant upon home churches, it had increased to 1800 members and was renting the Boston Opera House for congretional meetings." I like this idea. Why bother with church buildings?
Another book on witnessing is The World at Your Doorstep: A Handbook for International Student Ministry by Lawson Lau "that shows how your family can have an international ministry outreach -- all from your living room! As The World at Your Doorstep points out, international students are much easier to reach than overseas non-Christians. They speak English, are here in our climate wearing our type of clothes and eating mostly our type of food. They appreciate your friendship and hospitality all the more, being cut off from their own families. And as the book says, 'It is rare to find any of them who do not love children.'"
"Your warm family life is your greatest asset in dealing with these students, according to those who have this ministry. International students are not searching for 'programs' to attend in a building, but for a family to belong to." Different couples tell their story of this ministry. Les and Penny Gioja of Illinois say, "Statistically, 80 to 90 percent of the international students in the United States never see the inside of an American home. They frequently have no friends here and greatly desire companionship. Many are also very interested in learning all they can about Jesus and Christianity. So the need is great." They go on to explain they have made friends with the International Student Affairs Officer at their campus. If a student is coming in after hours he calls them and they pick the student up "at the airport and take them to our house for the night or the weekend."
"Meals are nothing special, unless the student makes them; we just set out an extra plate whether it's lasagna or leftovers. We just share what we have and they really appreciate it." They make friends. Help them move. The students love simple things like weddings or painting the house. This couple has witnessed to 150 students, and some have become Christians and those others went back to their country feeling good about Christianity and America. Mary Pride says, "Church growth is not the job of some superman of a pastor, or of the visitation teams alone. As I see the Scriptures [we have the Home Church book], much church growth is supposed to come through quiet discussions over a cup of coffee. ... Husband and wife combine their talents of teaching, parenting, and home management to surround the visitor with the evidence of the power of God."
She tells the story of a couple who built a world-wide ministry from their home, "The most widely-known example of this kind of team, where both husband and wife played an equally important part, is in the ministry of L'Abri. The work of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Schaeffer has become internationally known, not because of any publicity-seeking on the Schaeffers' part, but because of the unending stream of converts from their house to all parts of the earth." They grew by word of mouth and others duplicated them in other countries. Mrs. Pride says a friend of hers visited L'Abri and told her that "as many people were brought to the Lord through Mrs. Schaeffer's cinnamon buns as through Dr. Schaeffer's sermons!"
Dr. Brenda Hunter writes in Home by Choice how she was healed at a L'Abri. She says, "A friend sent me a book by Edith Schaeffer called L'Abri. L'Abri, which means 'shelter' in French, is an account of the Schaeffers' desire to offer spiritual shelter to" people who came to their home. She quit her job and flew to live in a L'Abri community in England. She writes that she and her children "were nestled in a caring community that was affiliated with L'Abri Fellowship, in Ealing, London, and I had what every mother at home needs daily: emotional support from other women. Two mothers of older children took the three of us under their wings. As Katie and Judy nurtured me, I was in turn able to nurture my daughters. No longer trapped alone in a suburban house, no longer living the frantic life of the employed mother." She eventually left after being healed and now has a book that everyone should read on why mothers should stay home.
Mrs. Pride says women shouldn't have titles but work intimately in the background: "Those agitating for ordination for women are throwing away with both hands the biggest ministry we could ever have in favor of a mere second-rate shadow. Two Dr. Schaeffers would not have been nearly as appealing as one Dr. and one Mrs." Wellesley college protested Barbara Bush for speaking at their college because she focused on her M.R.S. degree. I hope the UC can have the ears to hear God speaking through such people as Mrs. Pride when she encourages women "to consciously do what God gave Mrs. Schaeffer by accident. Be a homeworker. Work to build up your husband, and help him attain an elder's qualities. Exercise hospitality. Serve people in your home. Be creative. Worship and praise the Lord, first with your family, then with others the Lord will bring .... What a day it will be when all God's women return to homeworking and every wife has a church in her home." And what a day it will be when all God's men return to being Godly patriarchs in the home and in the state.
Your house is better than mine
This chapter is about witnessing. We witness to people so they can hear the truth. They must also see some of that truth in us. Blessed couples should witness by showing superior families. Father says, "Now is the age of family salvation. We should restore the family; there's no better witnessing than that. A couple should pray in tears holding the children's hands at break of day, so that the children sing songs of yearning for their parents when they are away from home." Father teaches us to witness by creating the most loving families so that when someone visits they don't want to leave: "You have to make them say, 'Your house is better than mine. This meal is more delicious than at my house. Can I stay here one more night?' When you make your house a place where every guest or friend wants to come and live, even abandoning their own families, you have the Kingdom of Heaven of a family." Father is not into titles; he's into results. God's ultimate power is in exemplary UC families that will overcome Satan's power and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let's build the greatest home churches and the greatest communities the world has ever seen. Let's start winning in America.
To accomplish the building of the kingdom of heaven on earth and in spirit world where the three blessings are fulfilled and everything said in Father's pledge are lived by every person, each person has the sacred duty to witness and successfully convert our lost brothers and sisters to Godism. The best way to witness is by our example. And the best example of showing God's ideal world is to build a community of trinities where a person can come to dinner and experience God's atmosphere of safety and love. The best way to study the theology of True Parents is to advertise the Principle. Father says we should advertise the Principle more than Coca-Cola advertises its product world wide. I pledge to be excited everyday about our mission to make and distribute books, tapes and videos that the average child and adult can watch at home and understand the truth that will set them free. Each person has to do the simple everyday things like floss their teeth, change diapers, and earn money. But the number one thing we are called to do is teach this hurting world God's love and truth so they know the joy that we finally have hope because we have True Parents. I pray for God's guidance to accomplish these written goals that will someday happen. In their names, Amen.