Introducing the "Family Care Foundation"
FSM 320 CM/FM
Prophecies, Progress and Plans from the GPU.
- By the GPU team, 8/97.
Copyright © 1997 by The Family.
As you know, the Lord has for some time been encouraging the Family to produce books and other new GP tools, as well as to develop more effective means of distributing them. For the past year, the GPU team has been helping in this capacity, as well as pioneering new methods of fund-raising. This FSM is dedicated to sharing some of what has been accomplished so far, and what the plans are for the future. Along with this, we'll explain how the activities of the GPU may affect you and your Home, your outreach, etc. So without further ado, let's jump right in!
The GPU has three broad goals or objectives:
* Creating and publishing new GP Gospel publications.
* Trying out new means of fund raising to help missionary and CTP projects.
* Exploring new ways to effectively mass distribute existing, and new, GP audio and video productions.
We rejoice at what the Lord has accomplished so far, especially considering that when this project got underway, we had very little idea of how all of this would be accomplished, let alone who would be involved in it and where it would be based. The only thing that was clear at this point was that, if this venture was to be a success, everyone involved would have to seek the Lord's counsel at every turn, and be willing to try new things.
Since it is the Lord Who has led and is leading, and it is He Who deserves all the credit for getting the GPU up and running, what better way to explain the progress of the past year and plans for the future than through excerpts of prophecies received when we faced major decisions. These should not only give you a better understanding of the GPU, but also strengthen and encourage each of you personally because, as He so often does, the Lord included advice and counsel that is beneficial to every Family member. Recaps of some of the major developments and research findings, and explanations of present and upcoming projects provide the outline and round out the picture.
History: Seeking the Lord with Family Representatives
In late 1995, the Lord spoke to Mama and Peter about publishing books (see GN #654.) This was a new direction the Lord was leading in, and in order to begin the implementation of this, the Lord showed them to gather together a group of Family members from field Homes to discuss this project and other ways in which we could help the Family's outreach and fund-raising efforts with new tools, new methods, etc.
In March 1996, Peter and Gary hosted a two-week brainstorming meeting in Houston, Texas. This was attended by nearly two-dozen delegates from around the world, representing a cross section of the Family from witnessers to Home shepherds and SC overseers. The question at hand: How could the Family best fulfill the Lord's commission to publish books for the GP and do a better job of distributing GP tools?
The primary focus was our GP tool outreach, but other areas of Family life kept making their way into the discussions. How could this GP publishing push give our outreachers a fresh challenge and help our Homes financially? Witnessing is our life and livelihood, so it's difficult to separate the distribution of the message from the lives and well being of the messengers.
As the meeting progressed, a plethora of ideas were generated. Although all of these ideas couldn't be pursued, they brought issues to the table that those who would be involved in the GPU could eventually work on. In general, the meeting covered not only the publications of books and how to implement it, but also the need for new and different tools, the need to modify and update existing tools, the need to find ways to generate more income at the Home level, ways to make our outreach and distribution more efficient and effective, the need to mass market all of our tools and not just books, and ways to have a centralized follow up program by which the Homes could send in names and addresses of those who received tapes and videos, so that other tools could be offered to them via mail.
All of the topics discussed at the meeting were very exciting and helpful in giving us an idea of the magnitude of the need. In fact, it was rather overwhelming! The original GPU team consisted of only four people, and the thought of trying to accomplish all that had been proposed was daunting, to say the least. Of course the Lord wasn't expecting us to do this all at once, but He used the meeting to help indicate where He was going to be leading in the months ahead.
We decided that a small team could only do so much, and that the first priority was to find out all we could about publishing books, since this was the original commission the Lord had given. Then later we could pursue these other directions if the Lord showed us to.
Throughout the meeting, subcommittees took the main ideas and proposals to the Lord for His counsel. The prophecies they received were then read to the other delegates, and their applications discussed. This was a great benefit as it gave us much needed direction from the Lord and answered many of our questions. Beginning this project was completely new to us. Though we have published numerous books, they've all been for Family use. We had virtually no experience in publishing for the system, and especially trying to market these books through system channels.
We were having to start from scratch, so having the Lord to look to-to be able to ask Him our questions, to have Him lead us and calm our apprehensions, and give us the vision and the Word on the matter-was a major blessing. We were babes in the woods in the beginning stages, but the Lord repeatedly promised that if we'd come to Him He'd show us what to do, and how and when to do it. He continually reminded us that our only hope in making all of this work and fulfilling His will was to look to Him at each step. He told us to not lean to our own understanding, to not neglect our time with Him, to keep close to Him in faith. If we did this, He promised to lead and guide. Looking back, we can now see that's exactly what He has done! PTL!
In the meetings, the Lord said:
(Jesus speaking:) As you encounter each situation, acknowledge Me in all your ways. Look to Me, forget not the faith that is ingrained in your hearts. Forget not to look to Me, forget not to ask Me, forget not to partake of that time with Me. For I am your Counselor, I am your wisdom, I am your understanding. For the people of this generation are much wiser than you, the children of light, but they are not wiser than Me. I know their intents, their thoughts, their desires, and I know yours; and I will give you discernment. But you must stick close. For I have said, the just shall live by faith. And that faith is faith in My Word, faith in My leadings, faith in My prophet and prophetess, faith in My queen and My king, faith in the Words that I am pouring forth to you, My children, for this time and this generation.
I will give you whatever you need to do the job. As you seek Me and as you ask, I shall give. I promise it. Rest assured in that. But beware of all that goes on around you. Lean not to your own understanding at any time. For in My Word and in the multitude of counselors-in the Words of My prophets-there shall be the Light that shall lead you through the dark path. (End of message from Jesus.)
At the end of the meeting, when we were all assembled together praying for the newly instituted GPU team and for the overall project, Dad gave the following:
(Dad speaking:) I'm really proud of you! You've done a great job! I've always known we've had wonderful, wonderful people in the Family-greatly talented people. But seeing you all come in from all over, seeing you work together, pray together, discuss together and reason together has just been beautiful. Boy, we've really got talent! You've really got talent! And I know you're just a few of the many, many like you all over the world.
Now it's going to happen. It's going to be hard. It's going to take work. It's going to take faith. It's going to take prayer. It's going to take pioneering. It'll be slow starting, but be faithful, go step by step, cry out to the Lord. He'll show you exactly what to do. You've prayed for the anointing, and let me tell you, you've got it! You've got the helpers, they've been assigned to you, and they'll help; but you've gotta listen.
It is going to be a great success, I guarantee it! I know it's going to happen! It's gonna happen greatly! We've been working on it Here for quite some time, and it's gonna happen like it's never happened before. And you're gonna reap, you're gonna win, you're gonna go into all the world, the message is going to be preached, the souls are gonna be won, and there's gonna be great victory for each one of you.
So do the job, folks, and do it well! Be faithful, be loyal, be diligent. And above all, be prayerful, seeking our help, seeking the Lord, seeking the Spirit. And as you do, you'll have all that you need. -All the guidance, all the direction, all the wisdom. (End of message from Dad.)
It was so encouraging to know that success was being guaranteed, but there was a promise that it was also going to be hard work, a pioneering effort that was going to be slow starting. We had our work cut out for us.
Square One: Where to Begin?
At the end of the Houston meeting, there were many new concepts for us to grasp and areas to investigate. We knew we needed to establish a legal entity to do business with the System, but what type of business?-And where to begin? Should we have a System publisher do the final edit, format and print our books, and have a System company produce and package our other products?-Or should we open our own publishing house and production company? Then there were taxes, copyrights, trademarks and other legal matters to research and consider.
We were thrust into a new world of business, publishing and marketing-matters we knew next to nothing about! Before setting out to accomplish the task of publishing books, we needed to do some research as to how the printing and publishing world worked, and at the same time, make the decision as to where the GPU would base from. In order to do the research, a team would need to travel throughout the States visiting printing establishments and publishers to get some advice and a quick education.
It was obvious in the discussions at the Houston meeting that the GPU members were going to need to look to System experts in various fields for counsel and advice, similar to how Family members needed to get advice from lawyers and academics during the various court cases. When we prayed about this during the meetings the Lord said,
(Jesus speaking:) Draw from many sources. Be not afraid to seek the counsel of those who are gifted, who know more than you. Go to them humbly and seek to learn, even as you have done with those of the academics. Did you not go to them in humility, did you not learn from them? Did you not absorb some of their counsel and has it not benefited you? Even as you have done in the technical aspects of video production and of music, you have taken the things that they have shown you and you have used them for My glory. You have still done it My way, not their way. You have sought their counsel and rejected that which was not suitable, and you have produced that which I wanted you to produce.
So seek the counsel of these who know more than you. Listen to them, but then listen to Me. For all that they say is not so, but you can take in what they say and I will show you that which is so and that which is not so, and then you can use that which is good and eschew that which is evil. With wise counsel make your war; but the wisest counsel is to hear from Me, for I am He that knows all things. You must battle according to My plans if you wish to win the battle. So seek the counsel of man, but bring it before Me that you may receive the full counsel of God. (End of message from Jesus.)
Once again the Lord had given instruction that has been our touchstone in this project. Because of the many facets of the work at the GPU, it had been necessary to become involved with many experts in many fields who have given valuable advice. But we've found, true to what the Lord has said, that it's imperative to bring these issues before Him for His mind on the matter.
After two months of initial research, the GPU team of Ike and family, Scotty (Mordecai Inky) and his wife Meek, joined by Josiah (now Paul), moved to Dallas, Texas, to set up the GPU Home.
In May 1996, an international book fair and publications seminar was held in Chicago. The team asked the Lord if they should go and present some of our publications, and if so, how many people should go, etc. Most of the counsel He gave us for that specific event also applied to their contact with publishers and consultants whom they met at other seminars and conferences, or contacted directly over the next several months:
(Jesus speaking:) Be not afraid to go out and represent My Kingdom at this fair. And be not ashamed of your tools. For as you know, these are mighty tools that shall win men's souls worldwide. This is a golden opportunity to find those who will not only counsel you, but will support you in this venture. … I am leading you to go, present your wares, and have a personal touch with many individuals at this fair.
Through this fair you will receive a great education, one that will carry you forth. But do not look upon this education and this wisdom of man as your final goal. But take each point that you gain and gather from this fair and bring it to Me, and let Me clarify your goals and your methods. (End of message from Jesus.)
The Chicago Book Fair was a major education for the team that attended, and all of us. It greatly expanded our horizons as to the possibilities, but also gave us a very strong reality check as to how difficult it is to successfully enter the System's publishing world. We became much more aware of how to go about getting books published, the multitude of legalities involved, the myriad of details and all the rest. The challenges were daunting, but at least we'd made a start and knew what steps to take in order to get the ball rolling.
In another message the Lord gave the team before going to the Chicago Book Fair, He included the following word of caution:
(Jesus speaking:) Beware of being discouraged through seeing the mighty industry of man-his mighty productions, his fanciful inventions, his ways of doing things. For if you compare, you shall be discouraged and say, "There are many giants in the land, how can we ever accomplish what this company or that company has done? For we are as nothing!" (End of message from Jesus.)
While the team learned a great deal from the book fair, they couldn't help but compare how the System did things with the way the Family had done them for years. They saw success stories in the publishing field and, in later meetings with experts, came to the conclusion that we should have done things much differently. They basically did what the above prophecy cautioned them not to.-They compared with the System. Throughout the next month they spent considerable time discussing many things they felt were wrong with the Family and the way we have operated for years. The discussions turned to criticism of how Mama and Peter were leading the Family, and eventually problems and bitternesses from the past came to the fore.
It was at this time that Peter and Gary visited the team, holding two meetings per day for about a week, during which they listened to their suggestions, comments and criticisms. At the end of this week Peter and Gary explained that we would prayerfully consider all of these matters, that some would probably be implemented and others wouldn't. In any case, if they were going to work in the GPU, we were all going to have to work in unity together. Although there might naturally be some differences of opinion, which was fine, we had to have the same general vision and desire to work as one, following the Lord's leadings.
Scotty and Meek decided at that time that they no longer wished to be Charter Members and chose to be Fellow Members, and eventually left the Family completely. Although Ike and Julia committed themselves to remain with the GPU, a few months later they too left the GPU and eventually left the Family. Paul's decision was to remain and help fulfil the GPU vision. (See Grapevine #9 for his lessons.)
At this time Mama and Peter asked Gary if he would be willing to remain at the GPU for at least six months to help get it off the ground, as this spiritually turbulent time had basically put a halt to any forward progress. Shortly thereafter Mama and Peter held a meeting with Gary and other WS leadership in order to reorganize the Family's publications departments and to free some WS personnel for the GPU in the process. Soon Heather, Apollos and others joined the new GPU team.
What the Consultants Had to Say
Just prior to the above-mentioned WS meeting, Gary, Paul and Ike made a trip to California, to team up with Tim LA for a week, in order to follow up on people met at the Chicago Book Fair. We also met with a number of other experts, from whom we hoped to get advice and counsel. We were very much still in the learning stage, and hoped to gain some more insight into how the field of publishing, marketing and business worked.
We explained to a number of consultants about the Family's background, and our desire to reach today's markets with our books, tapes and videos. We then told them we were new at this commercial approach, and asked their advice.
At first the idea of meeting many highly successful and high-powered professionals was a bit intimidating. However, with each new encounter we became more excited. It was thrilling to watch these seasoned consultants rave about how we were just what the world needed today, how the time was perfect for us, and how we had it all! Nearly everyone we approached was very impressed with the content of our products: our 'family values' emphasis, our loving and comprehensive programs for teaching children and training young adults, our social welfare projects (CTP ministries), our 'self-help' publications, our outstanding music and videos, and even some of our more far-out doctrines such as hearing from beyond, etc. They repeatedly told us that all of these are currently 'hot items' in today's market! It's these people's jobs to study trends, and according to them we have it-even for the worldly markets!
They also said we have a running start with an already established, well-trained distribution base (you, our worldwide Family) that insures a basic success for any publication. PTL! Of course they also offered constructive criticism, which was, after all, why we had gone to them.
For starters, they all said that our image and the way we portrayed ourselves needed some help, so that those we would market our products to would be able to better understand who we are and what we are about. If we were to publish and mass-market, our products would need to be packaged in such a way so as to sell themselves, and fine-tuned to "target" whichever group of people we hope to reach, with an "image" that people would easily understand.
A number of consultants also advised that we should be bolder in proclaiming our message and beliefs and avoid the 'excuse me for living' presentation, and commented that some of our media and PR materials made us appear somewhat defensive. After we explained to one consultant our radical background and the wild, hip image of our early days, she replied, 'It looks like in trying to appear more respectable today you squared yourselves!'-Ha!
In summary, according to the experts, the Family has got it! We just need a little help with some of our packaging and approaches, and to promote our products and services more vigorously. This was all quite encouraging for us.
Becoming a Legal Entity
It was apparent that if the GPU was to fulfill the vision of helping reach the world in many new ways with GP tools, they would have to form a legal entity for the purpose of conducting business, publishing, etc. The question was, what type? None of us involved had any previous experience in this sort of venture. There were also potential pitfalls, risks, complications and unknowns to consider. It was going to be a completely new step for us, one which potentially would affect the whole Family. Before making such a major decision it was brought before the Lord. Here's the counsel Dad gave:
(Dad speaking:) As you know, folks, I was never afraid to try new things, new ways. My goal was to preach the Gospel, and I was willing to try any way to do it. As Jesus said to His disciples, I say now to you, "Greater things than these shall you do."
I know your worries, your concerns. But the Lord works in many different ways, and we have to be open and willing to explore. Just like I said, you've got to try the doors. You've got to knock on the various ones, open them up and look inside. See what's there, see what the fruit's going to be and judge each step of the way.
So knock on this door and pursue it. Check it out, and it will become clearer as time goes on which route you need to take. You're on the right track as far as researching, finding out the information and seeing if you have the wherewithal to build a house. That's just what you should do. You can't make the decisions without having the information, and you can't have the information unless someone takes the time to research it and find out how they need to do it. So do the research. Search it out, find it out and seek it out so that the answers to your questions are found.
Remember that in the past, there were new things that you suggested. They were expensive, it was quite radical, it was a real departure from the way we'd done things. But you had the vision and the Lord gave it to you, and it was the right decision, and it changed things for the better, didn't it? But we would have never known if we hadn't tried them, and if I hadn't let you do the research.
So move ahead. Test the waters. Learn the ropes. Knock on the doors and it will become clearer to you what must be done and what you're supposed to do. You don't have to worry, you are on the right path as far as the researching and searching the matter out. And then you will know and it will become clearer to you what path you must take.
See, it's one of these step-by-step scenes where they just have to go step-by-step, and as they go and as they learn, other doors will open, other paths will appear and you will then know what you are supposed to do. You can't always know the end from the beginning, but as you go patiently forward step-by-step, then the path becomes clearer and the way more evident. (End of message from Dad.)
Again, the counsel from Heaven was to follow the Lord step-by-step. It's a good thing we did, because the Lord was working behind the scenes, unbeknownst to us.