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FSM 262 / FN 371 DO Special Issue!
Finances and Fund Raising!--Part Two
"I will cause the shower to come down in his season, there shall be showers of blessings."--Eze.34:26.
Copyrighted Nov., 1994 by Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland

       Introduction       1
       Shepherds Lead the Way in Witnessing!       2
       Childcare & Witnessing?--Finding a Balance!       4
       Our Children Want to Witness!       5
       Teen & YA Witnessing--Let My People Go!       6
               The Story of Tommy!--Applied to Our Young People!       6
               Teens Blossom into On-fire Disciples!       8
               Needed: Role Models for Witnessing!       8
       Home Organization       9
               Plan Ahead! Don't Waste People's Time!       9
               Delegate & Share the Decision-Making Power!       11
               Have & Follow a Monthly Budget!       11
               Share the Know!       12
               Break Up the Blobs!       13
               Advantages of Smaller Homes!       14
       The Role of the Business Teamworker       15
       Hear from the Lord & Follow Him!       16
       A Lost Opportunity!       17
       Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Management by Crisis!       19
       Prayer & Obedience Bring Immediate Financial Blessings!       22
       How We Got Out of Debt!       23
* * *

       There was a treasure hidden in a cave, but we had to roll away the stone. After the rock was moved out of the way, gold coins started rolling out of the cave. Soon there was a flood of gold coinsnonstop! It was like a treasure chest had been opened & poured out, the coins just rolled & rolled, more than enough! Praise the Lord!
       (Please see back page for the full description of this vision.)
* * *

       Fund raising as a missionary is based on the simple principle of giving spiritually unto others & reaping the material benefits. "The labourer is worthy of his hire. Muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn.  They which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" (Luk.10:7; 1Cor.9:9,14,11.)
       If we're faithful to sow spiritually, we will reap the material. But if we don't sow spiritually, then an essential part of the formula will be missing. No matter how much counsel, tips, practical advice, fund raising tools, etc., a Home receives, it won't bring about a significant change unless the people in that Home actually get out the door & go witnessing.
       Mama brought out an important principle in her recent talks about the need to ask, which is a major key! But that key won't unlock the door unless we are out of our Homes meeting people. In order to ask, we have to first meet the people to ask. Then, in order to cultivate those potential givers into a firm base of support, they need to be won, fed & ministered to regularly. So unless we figure out how we can be out more, witnessing more, meeting & ministering to more people, it doesn't seem we will be dealing with the root of the problem or find a long-term solution.
       One of the things that has limited our witnessing is possibly too much departmentalization, where the Home ends up depending on only a few people who are the "outreach people". It's odd how this idea gradually became so established in our Homes, when for the first many years of the Family, everyone was a witnesser.--That went without saying. No matter what our other responsibilities were, everyone witnessed at least a little, and most people witnessed a lot! It would do us a world of good to get back to the basics of everyone feeling responsible to witness.
       As Mama said recently, "Witnessing shouldn't just be the ministry of one or two people in your Home--witnessing is the duty of every Christian! Everyone needs to be going out witnessing & everyone needs to be asking! In order to be able to ask, you have to be out meeting & ministering to people! This includes the Home Teamworkers! It's a major part of your responsibilities as Shepherds to make sure the needs of your flock are well supplied!" ("From Poverty to Plenty!", ML#2929:23,44)
       Of course, some people are more gifted or have a greater burden to be fulltime witnessers & fund raisers, whereas other people are especially gifted in other ministries like childcare. So it's not that everyone must witness exactly the same amount of time.  It's logical that you'd organize your schedule for your best witnessers to go out more often than someone who isn't very good at witnessing, who doesn't speak the local language, & whose burden & specialty is caring for the babies in your Home. The point is not to get every single person out every single day, regardless of their gifts & talents. The point is just to have more people do more witnessing.

Shepherds Lead the Way in Witnessing!
       In many cases, the Homes that are the most fruitful witnessing & support-wise are the ones where the Shepherds themselves lead the way. There is just something about it--when the Shepherds are out there, everyone is more inspired about outreach, & naturally witnessing & fund raising are given more priority in the Home. We have received numerous reports that indicate that whatever the Home Teamwork pushes & is involved with is what gets priority as far as personnel, time, funds, vehicles, etc. So if the Teamwork isn't tuning into the finances & doesn't give witnessing & fund raising priority, then you have financial problems. But if both Home Shepherds & Area Shepherds tune into the witnessing, follow-up & fund raising, it bears good fruit!
       Consider the following report sent to Dad & Mama from a former VS: "A real key to our financial difficulties concerns the conviction to witness! Up until I would say 1986 I think everyone considered it their responsibility to go witnessing--everyone! And you felt pretty much like you weren't obeying God and being faithful to the Revolution and carrying your share if you didn't.
       "Around the time of teen camps, followed by the implementation of `The School Vision,' things became more departmentalized, and people didn't feel it was their responsibility anymore to witness if they did some other ministry. And, Lord forgive us, we put all the weight of the witnessing and financial burden on a few witnessers.
       "But in all honesty, witnessing is a big battle and the Devil really fights your getting out the door every day! Every day is the same battle--at least it is for me, and I think most witnessers will confirm this. It is surely one of the toughest things in our life to do. People can be pretty mean and rude and cruel out there; your pride is fighting you; it's hard to find a good place to go; some of the big cities are filthy and hot if it's the tropics or the Summer, or cold & rainy & snowy other times of the year; the food you eat while out is often not so good, etc., etc. Of course, the Lord almost always brings sheep along to thrill you, and everyone always comes home so inspired and out of themselves and full of testimonies; so of course, it's always worth it, and we all know it. But it's still a big battle and unless there is some prodding from a good sample Shepherd (along with the Holy Spirit), the easy way is to find something `more important' to do.
       "When I think back to Homes my wife and I shepherded, I recall that we generally had lots of funds and all our needs were abundantly supplied. And one of the reasons was because we always went litnessing, busking, personal witnessing, & spent time with our kings. Everybody in our Home went witnessing almost every day, including me and my kids. I took our first child out in a backpack every day from the time she was a few months old, then we just added prams, childcare workers, etc., as our family grew. I just felt under conviction to go out witnessing, and I knew that if I didn't I couldn't ask everyone else in the Home to go out without feeling like a hypocrite.
       "Plus I knew that if we didn't go out we would wind up poverty-stricken, and to me that spells certain disaster for a Home. If people aren't fed and happy and having all their needs met, they just won't do well. It's a very hard fight even with all of these things supplied, and just about unbearable without them.
       "Also, I like to have enough good food to eat, a nice place to live and comfortable neat clothes. I like to be comfortable and happy while serving the Lord, so my wife and I were willing to get out and work very hard for it, and we expected everyone else to do the same. But it wasn't forced on them. We would sit down and share the financial situation and ask the Home Members what they wanted to do to set and reach our goals. We'd figure out together what we needed to do as far as litnessing, busking, etc., in order to have that standard in our Home. It was very easy to get the team behind the push and to make voluntary quotas to accomplish our goals.
       "Also it was fun as we kept records of what we were accomplishing and gave lots of shiner prizes, like a dinner out, a movie, a surprise sleep-in morning, extra free day, an outing or whatever, which people liked immensely--especially me. Ha! As a result, everyone was basically very happy and fulfilled, and felt good about themselves for really getting out there and fighting & witnessing. We found it was so nice to be able to give people these treats.
       "I completely agree that if the Shepherds don't help with the witnessing & fund raising, and if they just expect the Home Members to do it all, it doesn't work well and it can bring about a lot of discontentment in the Home. As a Shepherd, there were times when I expected the sheep to do it all, while I did `more important' things; and besides feeling pretty ashamed of myself personally, the people in my Home weren't too excited about witnessing or didn't respect me too much--and I don't blame them either, when I hid behind my `badge' sometimes.
       "We used to go witnessing two hours a day minimum, and usually more like four, including piling all the kids in a bus or whatever, and spending at least half a day every day out witnessing! We did that almost every day for years.
       "We used to claim the verse, `Your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children'. It's like what Queen Elizabeth told the merchant who was so worried about his business, `You go and do my business and I'll take care of yours.' Well, that's exactly what happened: The King of kings has taken great care of our business (our kids), as we've done our best to take care of His business (feeding His sheep)! Praise the Lord!"

Childcare & Witnessing?--Finding a Balance!
       When you start thinking about how to put this witnessing/fund raising push into effect, the question that will most likely immediately come to your mind is, "But what about all our kids? What about their schooling?" That's a major point of consideration!
       In recent years we've had three main spheres of emphasis in our Homes: 1) persecution prep & proactive work, 2) training our children & young people, & 3) witnessing, tool distribution, follow-up, & raising support. The ideal would be to give each of these three departments or activities ample manpower & attention. But in reality what has happened is that the intense battles we've had with persecution over the last couple of years have forced many of us to put most of our emphasis, time & personnel on fighting those battles. That was unavoidable. We were fighting for our lives, for our children's future, for our religious freedom! And it's very understandable that in some cases, the other two priorities have suffered somewhat as a result. We haven't been able to dedicate as much time or attention or personnel to training our kids as we'd like. And many Homes have not been able to do as much witnessing as they'd like.
       But now that we're enjoying a time of relative peace from most of our persecution battles, thank the Lord, we can make hay while the sun shines! This renewed emphasis on witnessing should prove to be a wonderful change of pace for the children, teens & YAs. Many of you may have experienced through your recent SWIFTing that more witnessing has already brought victories of new inspiration, new contacts, greater unity, & more communication between parents & children, etc. (SWIFTing refers to Summer Witnessing in Family Teams. It's a witnessing push that was pioneered in Europe and also tried in other Areas, where small family teams [EDITED: "mommies, daddies & their kids & helpers"] went out witnessing together on the road for two weeks.)
       With all this talk of more witnessing & getting more people out of the house & doing more follow-up, more Consider the Poor work, more personal witnessing, etc., your reaction might be, "Whoa! Wait a minute! We can't do that! We don't have the personnel!--Or the time!" Or you might think, "The children's education & the organization of the Home will go down the drain, so we can't do it!" But the question is, how can we afford to not do it? No one wants the children's education to suffer nor the teen training, etc., but if we don't improve our financial situation, everything will suffer!
       By now, we've all come to realize that a lot of our problems come from not having sufficient support. If our Homes had regular income, in the form of pledges & kings, we would be able to go at a more relaxed pace, & the teachers would be able to spend more consistent time with their childcare groups, & more people would have time to devote to the care & training of the children, not to mention our being able to do things like opening new Homes in more suitable locations, doing more personal witnessing, taking the children on more outings, getting the children's educational needs & tools, (like books & computers), giving our Home Members more time off, etc.
       But since the Homes overall don't have a solid base of support, if we're ever going to pull out of living hand-to-mouth, we need to make some significant immediate & long-term changes. We'll need to reconsider our priorities in order to get more people involved in witnessing; in fact, we'll need to put more priority on getting out & raising support, winning regular supporters, & building a self-propagating base of support. For example, the handymen might have to delay some of their plans for home improvements or simplify their projects. The Home Shepherds might have to reduce the amount of reporting & administrational tasks they do. The media spokespeople might have to take to the streets (if you're not in the throes of a media or persecution battle). The Teen Shepherds & young people might have to forgo some of their teen camps, etc. Of course, these ideas are somewhat simplistic, & may not work practically speaking in every situation, but they illustrate the principle that whatever you put first gets done.
       But more witnessing does not mean that the education of our children needs to go to pot! More people doing more witnessing should not mean that people should just get whisked off the home front to go out witnessing in a sporadic, disorganized fashion so that everything else gets neglected. Each Home will have to work out a way that the children are well-cared for while the Home's witnessing increases. And one way is to let the children take part in the witnessing. They'll love it! They can learn as they go, through the many experiences they'll partake of as they're out. They will not get as much "book learning" on the days when they're out witnessing or when they're on the road, but by turning witnessing outings into an educational and learning experience, they can benefit from practical experience, communication with others, seeing new sights, meeting new people, & lots of variety!  After all, that's one of the primary benefits of Home Schooling--you don't have to be locked into a constant sitting-down-at-a-desk type of schedule. You can be going, doing, seeing, experiencing! And learning all the while!
       We know we cannot drop our kids' schooling. Neither can we ignore the day-to-day care of the little ones, all the way down to the babies. But there are solutions--there are ways it can be done and the Lord can help us do it! As Dad said many years ago in "What Is That in Thy Hand?": "You think you can't do any more than you already are, but you can, with the help of God!" (ML#315:24.) So please be praying about this now--what you can do in your situation in view of our witnessing & financial needs, as well as the needs of the children. We are planning to present in upcoming FSMs testimonies & tips which we hope will provide you with possible solutions on how to continue to educate your children & keep up the standard of schooling while increasing your emphasis on witnessing. You don't have to choose one or the other!--You can do both & have a great time while you're doing it! Praise the Lord!

Our Children
to Witness!
       Our children want to witness! They want to get out & win souls, & it can be a thrilling experience for them. And they need to witness. A YA in North America shared the following comments on her Home TRF:
       "Since being the CC Teamworker I've seen a real need in the children's lives to get back to the basics of witnessing. It seems that since I was little, we as a Family have gone through a lot of changes in that regard. These changes, of course, are so we can better tune into the training of our children.
       "When we YAs were younger, witnessing was a real thing and our whole lives were based around it. For example, our MO Lion Readers were all about witnessing, most of the Word we read was about witnessing, and we were daily acting on what we read and applying it to our little personal experiences.
       "In some cases it may have been taken to the extreme, and other needs in our lives were neglected. But now that the children hardly witness at all, I feel maybe we have been throwing out the baby with the bath water.  The children in my Home have a burning desire to witness. We have been trying to get our OCs & JETTs out, as they demand it. And when they go out they do very well.
       "Sometimes, though, the adults sort of drag the children along and don't really use their talents. When I was a kid, certain adults would make witnessing lots of fun. They'd do such things as playing little games, like going to all the old ladies, next to all the teens, etc., or setting goals for how many people I could lead to the Lord, etc., & I had a blast! I think we've just gotten out of practice when it comes to training our kids for witnessing. They have a lot of Word on witnessing and hear a lot about it, but they very rarely get to participate.
       "The other day the YCs were praying for their day and one piped up with a prayer, `And, Jesus, please work it out for us to be able to go witnessing soon.' I think it would make the kids so happy if we could somehow emphasize this more. Even if it's an afternoon at a busy park where they could just go and hand out tracts and win souls.
       "I had an idea: I know you in WS have a tremendous load of work to do already with keeping up with the pubs. I was just looking through the older Kidz Mags the other day and I was remembering what a big deal those were to us when we were kids. We really looked forward to getting those and reading each other's little testimonies on witnessing, and working on our own testimonies to send in. It seemed like that's what the Kidz Mag majored on, witnessing. If we were to do something like that again with the Kidz Mag, or make another pub about it, I think the whole Family would get the vision for getting our kids out witnessing more."
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Thanks for this good suggestion! We completely agree with you! Dear Family, please try to send in your children's {\ul \i witnessing testimonies}, directed to the Kidz Mag, via your Reporting Office, & we'll do our best to publish as many as possible, Lord willing.)

Teen & YA Witnessing--Let My People Go!
       Teens & YAs are an integral part of our Homes in many important ministries, especially childcare. You teens & YAs are doing a great job! But, as you probably know, many of our young people are getting rather "burned out" & they're seeking a change, a new challenge, more excitement, etc. What they really need is more witnessing!--That's excitement at its best! Praise the Lord!
       Many of you adults may feel you can't afford to let the teens & YAs witness more because they're too needed at home. If you felt that way, please prayerfully consider the following comments:

The Story of Tommy!--Applied to Our Young People!
From Mary MOM:
       "I've been shepherding some young people in a Home style teen/YA camp. There are 22 teens & YAs here, & thank the Lord we have been making a lot of progress. As we ended our first week of classes we had a prayer of deliverance. Before the prayer of deliverance was to take place, a few incidents happened with two teens, S. & D., & it was obvious that they had not been receiving the classes & pow-wows throughout the week. They had been mocking those who were putting together their prayer lists. S. had also been mocking Christianity. It seemed to me that they weren't making the needed progress to overcome the weaknesses we had been addressing all week. And I was beginning to feel that their weaknesses were not just bad habits that needed help & counsel to overcome, but that they were very wilfully & knowingly trying to destroy & hinder what the Lord was trying to do.
       "So before we began our prayer of deliverance, I took them aside & brought up to them their mocking attitudes which were hindering & hurting the others. I reminded them of the class that we had on `Who To' where I had made it clear to all the teens that we were willing to go the extra mile with all of them if they wanted to make it. It didn't matter what their weaknesses were as long as they were willing to fight & have prayer & be in good communication with us. But that if we determined that their weaknesses were not just bad habits, but real rotter-type attitudes & actions of rotten apples, then we would have to reconsider what their place would be in the Home.
       "I shared with them how I was quite concerned that they were still into these things after all we had discussed in class. I told them I didn't want them to come to the prayer of deliverance, as I didn't want to cram discipleship down their throats, & that I have to help those who want to fight. I explained to these two boys that it was difficult enough for everyone to fight their bad habits without having to fight against these boys' bad attitudes as well. So finally, I told S. & D. that they might as well save their breath & go back to their rooms, while we had the prayer of deliverance with everyone else.
       "It actually really broke my heart, but I could see that they were testing me. But then they both told me, in all humility & fear of the Lord that they had really worked on their personal prayer lists & had really prayed over them. They asked for another chance & to be able to come for the prayer of deliverance.
       "When I heard their request I said, `Well, that wasn't my plan. I am quite concerned that you will drag the rest of the group down, so let's pray & ask the Lord to show us whether you should come or not.' And the verses that I got while praying with them were, `By mercy & truth iniquity is purged,' & `all that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me, & he that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' (Pro.16:6; Jn.6:37) I took that to mean that they should come in for the prayer.
       "When the teens & YAs read their prayer requests I was so moved & impressed. Their prayer requests were like prayers in themselves. When it came time for S. & D. to read their prayer requests I cried & I thought, `These guys have been testing me. They want to know if I really mean business & if prayer will work for them this time.' They both asked for prayer that they would be able to learn what the Family is all about, amongst other things. When S., who is the hardest to reach, asked this in prayer, right away the Lord gave me a vision which I believe explains what they need.
       "I saw a picture of Tommy, the crippled boy, sitting by the rich man. The rich man was very excited, waiting to find out Tommy's answer as to whether he would come & live with him in the country. And Tommy said, `Will there be anyone passing by my window?' And the rich man said, `Well, no. Maybe an occasional gardener.' Well, we all know the story, how Tommy felt he couldn't live out where there were no people to witness to.
       "I got so excited with this vision. I thought, `That's it! That's the answer!' The whole time that I've been at this Home I've been trying to challenge these teen boys with different projects around the Home (mostly handyman) because they've got so much energy.So if I don't keep them busy they're very difficult to handle & they get in a lot of trouble.
       "`Well,' you might ask, `why aren't they out witnessing?  Why aren't they ministering to people? Why don't they have a Catacomb ministry? Why don't they have people coming over to the Home that they're preparing special dinners for & shows for?' Well, they hardly know anybody & they don't have anything going like that. It's very difficult for them to get into the city. There are many obstacles to living way out in the country as we do. There are not enough drivers, not enough vehicles, sometimes there's not enough money. So we sit out here in the woods with a house full of teens who I'm trying to find work for, & all this manpower is going to waste as far as winning the World goes.
       "One of the biggest problems the kids here have is they say, `I don't know what I'm good for, I can't do anything in the Family. I'm not worth anything. When I get to be a YA or an adult, no one is going to want me for anything. I can't do anything.' I think this lack of vision simply comes from the fact that they're not ministering to anyone. So they're just not pouring out & they're not challenged to make the Family what it should be because they don't have any vision at all. I feel like in order to make leaders out of these teens & YAs, especially out of all these young men, they're going to have to live in Homes that are geared to outreach.
       "I feel they need to be in Homes where they've got fairly easy access to the city to minister to the young people, where they can have a Catacomb ministry going & regular visitors coming over to the Home, & where they can make phone calls to kids that they've met & schedule regular times when they can go out to follow-up on them. I feel they need to live in situations where you can easily put together a team that can step out the door & hop on the bus & arrive fairly quickly at their witnessing spot and minister to people & be busy for the Lord. We need to start training our young people in shepherding.--Shepherding their sheep they meet out witnessing.
       "Every Home in this country is way out in the boonies, & I know that none of the kids are getting out nearly as much as they should. But again, the Homes would have to have the vision to put a lot of prayer & planning & effort into follow-up ministries. I personally can't wait to be in a Home where I can try all of this out, because I'd love to train our teens to minister to women & children, businessmen, Catacombers, teens; to run a coffee shop near the Home or a Church of Love; to prepare classes for all different kinds of people, etc. I'd love to see them very busy in these kinds of ways.
       "In the different Homes that I've visited, it has been the adults who are doing these ministries, while the kids have been left mainly to take care of the kitchen & be on staff or on childcare. Of course, all of these home ministries are important, & some young people in other Homes are very fulfilled in their Home ministries & feel challenged. But in situations like this Home, I'm beginning to feel that one of the things that's hindering the direct involvement of our teens in these various outreach ministries is the fact that they're just living within the walls of their house & doing their in-Home ministry without a vision. (End of comments from Mary MOM.)

Teens Blossom into On-fire Disciples!
From Titus, in Taiwan:
       "Recently, after years of talk, we finally bucked the tide that the Enemy had been attempting to flood us with, and we opened up a Youth Outreach Centre in the heart of town. We at last broke out of our schedules & the `can't-be-done' boundaries that the Enemy had established in our mindset! Now the teens are out witnessing a large part of the week, & they have blossomed into some of the most on-fire disciples that I have seen in a long while! Hallelujah! Now they are getting turned on to learning Chinese, whereas before they didn't see the need.
       "I feel that witnessing is a very important part of their training and growth, going out according to their faith, with oversight of course, but not being limited by `the almighty schedule' that is often posted each morning for everyone to see what they are going to be doing that day! Naturally we need to be organized and schedules are very necessary, so we can have an efficient productive Work for the Lord. But on the other hand, we can't be so bound by the schedule that we don't allow the Lord to guide our decisions & priorities. We need to let the Lord lead us when we make our schedules, & in order to do that, we had better stop and hear from Him about what we should be doing.
       "Our renewed push on witnessing (through the SWIFT) has been a real blessing to everyone. We have emphasized not only the amount of tools distributed, but also we asked the Lord to restore to our hearts a love for the sheep and witnessing! Praise the Lord!" (End of comments from Titus.)

Needed: Role Models for Witnessing!
From Stacie, Japan
       "Many of our young people don't seem to have a burden for witnessing as a goal in life or a ministry. I think one reason is because at present we don't have so many shining role models amongst our older Family Members who consider it a high calling to be fulltime witnesses. It seems for the past years witnessing has become a departmentalized ministry, which a few Home Members did while others worked on other ministries.
       "When the Family first started & we were all mostly teens & YAs, everyone was witnessing, that was the thing to do! Faithy, who was one of the top leaders, was right out there on the streets leading the way in winning the sheep. She was our role model, right up front on the battlefield.
       "Recently one of our CRO Shepherds came to visit us for a week. During that time she allotted a day to take our OCs & MCs out witnessing. That good sample spoke so loudly to us. It helped us take our eyes off our own Home a little bit & our Home introspection & put them on the field. It gave us a strong message that what happens inside our Home is not the only important thing, but there are a lot of people out there to reach & to help our kids to reach.
       "We older Family Members have experienced the thrill of reaching lost people with Jesus' Love & seeing people's lives change before our eyes & pouring out our souls to the lost sheep. We've experienced the joy & deep satisfaction of just being a vessel which the Lord poured through to satisfy the longing of someone's heart. But unfortunately, I feel we've let that passion cool & we haven't passed it on sufficiently to the young people who follow us.
       "It seems a lot of our kids & even newer disciples haven't seen or experienced the joys of in-depth witnessing & pouring out that much, or even at all yet. It reminds me of the anecdote about a grandfather & father who had been practising physicians for years; & the grandson who had studied medicine & was also a doctor, but not a practising physician. The grandson preferred to do research & give lectures. The grandfather often tried to encourage him to practise medicine, to get involved with people, not just theories & laboratories. Finally the grandson was put in a position where he had to help & minister to others, & from then on he caught the vision & understood what his grandfather meant; & he was then hooked & sold on it. `He had experienced the magic,' as his grandfather put it.
       "We've talked a lot about passing on the baton to our younger generation. But this soul winning/Endtime witnessing baton is one we can only pass on if we older Family Members have it firmly in our hands & hearts as well! I have a feeling it's one baton the Lord is going to be especially thrilled to see our kids carry, as they run with fiery passion & witnessing fever & a love for souls, with the Love of Christ constraining them. Praise the Lord!" (End of comments from Stacie.)

Home Organization
       We realize that this new push needs landing gear, & in this series of FSMs we will try to publish as many specific tips & how-to testimonies as we can, Lord willing. Also, as time goes on, you may receive more tips & ideas from your immediate Shepherds via visitation & local pubs concerning how to put these changes into practice. Of course, because there are so many variables from Home to Home & field to field, we in WS can't possibly address every single point & tell you exactly how to organize your Home & do your scheduling, budgeting, witnessing, etc. However, as we read the hundreds of pages of reports, reactions, delegates' meeting notes, TRF comments, etc., it became apparent that there are some common weaknesses in Home organization & management that are greatly reducing the effectiveness of our Homes. Some of the major culprits include: wasting people's time by not planning ahead, lack of delegating by the Teamwork, lack of budgeting, not sharing the know, & living in blobs that are too difficult to manage, too expensive to maintain, & too far away from the sheep.

Plan Ahead! Don't Waste People's Time!
       Next, let's talk about one of the most common ways we've heard that time is wasted in many Homes, & that is when people hang around waiting for the Teamwork to finish its morning meeting, after which they write the daily plan & work schedule on the bulletin board! Unfortunately, it is an all too common story that the day's plan isn't finalised until after devotions or later; & it's only then that someone knows whether they're going to go witnessing, go provisioning, be the driver for town business, be on the cooking schedule for that day, stand in the gap for a school group, etc. Of course, under those circumstances, it's almost impossible for Home Members to make plans & redeem the time. It is extremely frustrating!
       Witnessing, as well as other Home activities, such as the training of our children, really suffer under this type of poor Home organization because, as most witnessers will tell you, getting out early is one of the keys to having a great day. If you prepare the night before, so you can leave the house immediately after devotions, you can get to your witnessing spot in time to get in a few good hours of witnessing before you break for lunch. And if you have a few fruitful hours in the morning, it's very inspiring, you're on the attack, knowing you could be headed for a record-breaking day! Praise the Lord!
       But if you don't get out of the house until, say, 10:00 or 11:00, by the time you get to your witnessing spot, everyone is out for lunch. So, by the time you finally get started, it's already afternoon. The mid-afternoon slump hits you, you feel discouraged because more than half the day is gone & you haven't gotten anything done; & if you're in a warm climate, by now you feel hot & sticky & tired.--And you're just getting started! Does this sound familiar? It's pitiful!
       Another very sad side to this slack style of organization is that as a witnesser, you don't feel confident to make follow-up appointments because you don't know if you'll be free to go out that day. You can't call your contacts early in the morning, because you can't commit yourself to seeing them that day, since you don't yet know "the plan". And by the time you finally know if you'll be going out, your contacts are all out of the office, or fully scheduled for the day.
       So having said that, let's nail down the first point to Home organization: Plan ahead. Dear Teamworkers, please don't keep the whole Home waiting in the morning while you hash out the plan for the day. With all there is to do, it is almost a crime to keep people waiting! Don't you be guilty of wasting what Dad called "the most precious thing a man can have outside of his soul--his time!" (See ML#155:29.) The Home should not revolve around morning Teamwork meetings, & a Home should not have to wait on the Teamwork! So if you Teamworkers are guilty of this, please discuss this right away & revamp your meeting schedule & your modus operandi so there's no more of this planning the day in the morning!
       The Teamwork should be planning ahead, anticipating the needs, & making sure things are organized in advance so time is not wasted! This one point of good Home management can make the difference in a Home between fruitful inspiring witnessing & unfruitful frustrating witnessing.
       Please plan as far in advance as possible! Let people know what the plan for the next day is the evening before, at the very latest! The best would be to organize a plan for the week (or the next two weeks or month), so only decisions that have to be made on a daily basis are left for the daily scheduling. In your plan for the week, you can schedule the activities that happen regularly each week--such as devotions, Word classes, witnessing, Home meetings, children's class times, get outs, outings, Word & Rest days, Sunday Fellowship, & Home recreational activities such as dance night or movie night, etc.
       Then each afternoon or evening you should only need to fine tune the details of the next day's schedule. Of course, there are often different or unusual things that come up that have to be scheduled in somehow, or that you have to adapt your normal schedule to accommodate. And the sooner in the late afternoon or evening that you can work out these changes in the next day's normal schedule the better. Don't wait until everybody has gone to sleep at night to fine tune the next day's schedule; that defeats the purpose, because then the Home Members won't find out the details of the schedule until the next morning.
       Of course, sometimes things come up during the day that are completely unexpected, & you just have to bypass the schedule or revamp it on the spot. For example, if somebody gets a bad toothache & has to go to the dentist, that is not something you can predict. Or if you get a surprise call from some long-lost friend who is at the train station waiting for you to come & get him so he can visit your Home, that is not something you can postpone. So it's inevitable that your schedule will go awry at times, & that can't be helped. But in general your weekly schedule should be planned in advance, with early evening meetings of at least the Teamwork to go over any adjustments that need to be made for the next day so the Home Members can be informed in advance of the next day's activities.
       When planning their Summer witnessing activities, a Home in Denmark found advance scheduling to be very effective. They report: "We have been trying to come up with a bi-weekly plan of attack for the whole Home, scheduling the outreach & Home activities. We write it all down on the white board & post it for the whole Home. This way everyone knows what's happening, what their job (or jobs) will be during the next two weeks, & they can plan accordingly. There are minor changes, but overall it seems to work well."
       One of the CROs had the following comments & suggestions regarding scheduling & planning ahead: "When visiting Homes, I've suggested that they try to formulate small well-balanced witnessing teams who witness together on a routine basis. The teams should have a good solid team leader & veteran witnesser. (There can be a balance of adults, & YAs, teens or JETTs.) The idea is that the same team goes witnessing together on a regular basis & on the same days of the week. For example: Team No.1 could go out together regularly every Monday, Wednesday & Friday; team No.2 could go out every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday; team No.3 every Monday, Thursday & perhaps Sunday; team No.4 could possibly be comprised of all teens or all JETTs with their Shepherd(s), & they could go out collectively every Friday evening & Sunday afternoon on a routine basis. You can make up as many teams as you'd like, depending on how many people you have in your Home.
       "When people know when they're going witnessing & where they're going, they can then call ahead & make appointments. This facilitates follow-up. This seems to be quite fruitful, as the different groups know they'll be a team, & they can make progress & build up their ministry. Then the rest of the time they can plug into their Home ministries.
"This is especially helpful for teachers, as they can have their substitute teachers in place so that when a teacher is out on his or her regular witnessing days, the substitute teacher stands in the gap on a routine basis. When sharing this organizational key with Homes & teachers, I use the analogy of having a `Witnessing Curriculum', in the sense that you have a plan of attack (the curriculum) & you are able to fulfil it by having the same team together who share the same vision & goals.
       "Set teams who witness on set days not only helps the Home's organization & scheduling, but it also helps creates witnessing teams that make progress together. They get to know each other, learn to work & witness together, build a good working relationship, & make progress in their follow-up as a team. They can also choose a designated area of town where they decide to go regularly. For example, one team might always go to downtown areas & make an emphasis on office-to-office witnessing. Another team might have more faith to be a provisioning/witnessing team & go factory-to-factory. Another team might go door-to-door. Another team could be a church ministry team, & they might have a real busy full weekend of witnessing Saturday & Sunday, but all the rest of the week, they're plugged into their ministries at Home.
       "If such small teams are able to work together for, say, two months, they are able to make consistent fruitful progress. Praise the Lord!"

Delegate & Share the Decision-Making Power!
       Another common problem in Home organization that wastes time, causes extreme frustration & squelches initiative is when people have to wait on the "okay" from the Teamwork for almost everything. Of course, some things need to go through the Home Teamwork for the sake of organization & coordination, etc., but if everything goes through the Home Teamwork, there is a very big chance that the Home Teamwork will be a bottleneck! This is extremely frustrating for Home Members. The key is to delegate, & by this we mean delegate not only the work, but also the responsibility & the decision-making power to complete the work!
       We have read report after report about how Home Teamworks carry so much responsibility & are so busy that they have a hard time getting all their work done & everything taken care of properly. But the sad story is that meanwhile some Home Members are bored, because they don't have enough responsibility nor enough to do.  Hmm.... What is wrong with this picture?
       It's simply not wise nor effective to have everything--every detail, every ministry, every decision--revolve around & depend upon the Home Teamwork's direct oversight. The end result of this style of leadership is that the Home Teamworkers run themselves ragged, are exhausted all the time, hardly have time for Word or prayer time, & because they're so busy, they don't have time to properly oversee the Home & spiritually shepherd the Members. So the key is to delegate & share the responsibility & decision-making power with as many people as possible! (For more on this, please read "Getting Organized", ML#297.)

Have & Follow a Monthly Budget!
       Homes that are struggling financially often don't have a budget. Even though most people know that they should budget, it is easier said than done! One of the keys to budgeting is to have a dependable income that will provide enough funds to cover daily expenses and at the same time set money aside for upcoming bills & any unexpected emergencies that might come up. Lord willing & time allowing, we hope to publish more details on how to budget, but in the meantime, if you're having trouble budgeting, or don't know how to budget, please ask your Area Shepherd to help you!
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Even though we hope to cover this subject in more detail in the future, Lord willing, there is one point that we want to mention now. In GN 604, we were reminded about a very important part of budgeting--{\ul \i setting aside your Seed Corn money}. As you are now aware, many Homes have not had a sufficient supply of witnessing tools on hand, because either they've never had the cash available to make the {\ul \i initial investment} to purchase a substantial number of tools, or they have not been faithful to {\ul \i replenish} their Seed Corn funds by setting aside the cost of each tool, so they would have the money they need to reorder.
       (Thank the Lord for Dad & Mama's generosity & their willingness to obey the Lord & give until it hurts by supplying every man, woman & child with a $50 gift of Seed Corn money. We trust that you'll all be very faithful to take good care of that Seed Corn money & not be found to rob God.)

Share the Know!
       Going hand in hand with budgeting is sharing the know. Unfortunately, years after Dad wrote "Share the Know", it's still not being practised regularly in most of our Homes. Perhaps some of you have been under the impression that finances are not to be discussed with the Home--but that is not the case. For Home Members not to be aware of the financial situation just promotes that "lah-lah land syndrome". In other words, it encourages people to live in a dream world where they think, "Oh, the finances & support of the Home isn't my ministry, let the Business Teamworker & the outreach people worry about that."  Some Homes report that the Home Members are not aware of the fact that they don't have the money for the rent until a few days before it's due, at which time they all have to go on a frantic fund raising blitz to raise it.
       One NAS commented: "One of the reasons the Homes operate in debt is that the Home Members are not fully aware of the financial state of the Home. They are not aware that the Home is in debt until the bill is overdue or there is one day to pay it, & then the Home is notified that they need to have an attack day or contact friends & ask them to give. If the Home Members were more aware of the real financial state of the Home, they as a Home would have more attacking initiative to get bills paid before they are debts."
       A lack of communication & sharing the know results in a poorly managed & financially inefficient Home. Dad said 20 years ago in "Share the Know":
       "I want the kids [EDITED: "Home Members"] to know that this is their work, it is their business, it is their job, it is their accomplishment, & it is to be run by them. They are to have a voice in the decisions, from production to distribution to what's happening with the money! I want them to know that it's theirs! They're running it & they have the say-so in it. They make the decisions, & they're getting the money, they're knowing where it goes & they are choosing how they want to spend it!
       "When God blesses us financially it's because we're obeying & we're getting out the Message, & we're witnessing to the World & we're getting results!--And God blesses us for it! I want to see that all the kids are sharing in those blessings & that we're giving them everything that we can possibly give them that they need, & maybe even a few of the things that they want other than just needs, if it's good for them! Whatever it is, in any decision along this line it's not we that make the decisions for them, but it is they who are making the decisions & the choice, they who are deciding what happens to the money, they who spend it on what they think it's needed for, & what it should go for, & most of all know about it!
       "There shouldn't be just a handful of executives who know, but all the kids should know there isn't that much excess money & know where that little money is & where it goes, even down to the lowest man in the rank, so that he too will know the extent of our income & where it goes & how it's spent! Amen?" (ML#301A: 47,58,59)
       And Mama said in "God's Financial Blessings!--How to Receive Them NOW!" (ML# 2813): "One of the most important ways of preventing murmuring is by staying in unity & good communication concerning the finances--your income & your expenses. One of the best ways of doing this is by sharing the know in detail, using the actual numbers instead of just percentages, with all the Home Members from senior teens on up. This way everyone will be aware of what your Home's needs are, how you're doing financially, etc. This communication will help shift the burden of the finances off the shoulders of just a few people in the Home Teamwork & onto the shoulders of all the mature members in the Home. This way everyone's faith & prayers can pull together to seek the Lord for the Home's needs. Everyone will be aware of the Home's financial needs & will be able to pray specifically & desperately!"
       She recently reiterated this point, saying, "All adults should be aware of the financial state of the Home. And that means all the adults should know the specifics concerning how you're doing financially--how much money is on hand, how the money is being spent, how your Home budget & buffer are doing, what bills are owed, etc.--not just percentages, but actual amounts.
       "All Home Members age 16 & over should be aware of the specifics of your Home's financial state, including what the upcoming bills are, where the money is going, & how much money is on hand." (ML#2929:39 & point 16a of the financial checklist.)
When sharing the know with your Home Members, please keep in mind the following counsel from Mama's Letter, "From Poverty to Plenty":
       "Be sure to speak faith and be positive when sharing your financial situation so your Home Members don't feel burdened or worried.
       "It's very important to share the victories of supply also, so that your whole Home can be encouraged and know that the Lord is answering your prayers! (Of course, you wouldn't want to burden the children with the details of your financial situation, but if they participate in praying for finances and different needs, it's important that they also hear about the answers to those prayers!)" (ML#2929: points 16b and 16c of the financial checklist.)
       As mentioned above, it is very important that you take special care to not burden the children with the details of your Home's financial state, because it can cause them to worry and it can hinder their witnessing. The children shouldn't have to be concerned about money--how you're going to pay your bills or how much money you need to raise, etc.! They should be free from even having to think about these matters, so they can concentrate on shining for Jesus and being good witnesses! So please be very careful and prayerful when having finance-related conversations, so that you don't discuss the details of money matters in front of the children! Thanks!

Break Up the Blobs!
       Another possible cause of poor Home management or organization is that some of our Homes are very big! Blobs! We don't mean to blame you for having such big Homes. There are many factors that have worked together over the last few years, which have resulted in very large Homes. In many cases, the Lord certainly used those "blobs for the job" to accomplish His Will, as we concentrated on training our children & young people, presented a tremendous sample to the World, & fought many of our persecution & media battles from strong central bases. However, in some cases, our Homes have gotten larger than they need to be. And the fact is, a Home of 75 or 100 people is very difficult to manage efficiently, unless you have a tremendous amount of training, experience & even natural abilities in this area.
       Of course, the advantages of smaller Homes are many & we will publish more tips & testimonies on this later, D.V., but suffice it to say that breaking up the blobs in itself would bring almost immediate improvement in many of the major problem areas facing our Homes today.

Advantages of Smaller Homes!
       When the Homes in Europe started a push to decentralize, beginning with the SWIFT, YA Patience in Hungary had the following to say: "I was very inspired to hear that smaller Homes are starting to be encouraged. I'd like to share what I feel the benefits are of smaller Homes.
       "Since being on the Home-care side of the Teamwork, I started to realize how very much goes into making a house a home. I just feel that all the time & effort that goes into organizing a big Home & all the ministries possibly takes away from our goal of reaching the World.
       "I was also thinking about our children, because my life as a child was so different, being raised in the earlier days of the Family. I think comparing my life as a child & the lives of our kids now, I honestly feel mine was much more exciting & interesting. Most of my life was spent in a small Home, caravan or apartment, & we usually lived with two other families & one or two singles. Usually the older kids (JETTs & OCs) would take turns with the singles in teaching the kids or cooking & going out witnessing. Since our Home was in the centre of the city, we usually had sheep visiting daily. The kids were also able to participate in a singing group, & since we were able to go out witnessing more, our Home standard was really nice & comfortable.
       "I guess since our Home was smaller everyone felt more a part & like it was more their Home, so they made sure to do their part. Also it was so much easier to plan fun activities with the kids like outings, etc., as we were in the centre of the city & had fewer children in the Home, so outings were simply easier to plan. And of course, witnessing opportunities were right at hand.
       "Although sometimes I got a little lonely, as we weren't always with families with kids my age, there were the weekly Area Fellowships to look forward to, or else my parents would work it out so I could stay a few days in another Home to help out & be with one of my friends.
"It's wonderful to have this summer SWIFT & the kids witnessing with their parents. It would just be wonderful for it not to end, as it would be nice for our kids to be with their parents more & also for the parents to learn to take more of a responsibility for their own kids & their training.
       "I've felt that maybe the vision in bigger Homes gets a bit fuzzy & unless it's run like an army, full of schedules, planners, etc., it doesn't seem to work too well.        One other thing I've felt is that our rent for larger Homes is quite high, & at least in the Homes I was in, it didn't seem, for the size of our population, that many outreach teams went out. Maybe this is why our living standards have gone down. Anyway, I want to say that I'm very thankful things are changing. God bless you!" (End of comments from Patience.)
       One team who recently pioneered a new small Home, shared the following observations: "I think that many of the problems we are now faced with would all but disappear in smaller Homes! Big Homes tend to have a lot of problems while small Homes are easy to manage and more practical, not to mention more inspiring and fruitful."
       This person went on to say that smaller Homes do the following:

       Make it easier to involve all members in decision-making and sharing the vision together.
Have smaller peer groups for children.
       Are much much much much much easier to organize & manage.
       Create more desire for fellowship and witnessing.
       Make everyone feel more responsible for the Home.
       Allow more opportunity for exercising personal faith, as the Home is composed of volunteers and not draftees.
       Make Home responsibilities more manageable so they can be carried by persons perhaps not capable of the equivalent in a large Home, and it is easier to let the young people do it.
       Are much easier to set up and find housing for.
       Are usually located closer to the witnessing spots, which makes transportation cheaper & more accessible, & saves time.
       Are easier to shepherd because problems tend to show up sooner. It's hard for folks to disappear in a small group or hide in the corner when it is time for dishes!
       Are easier to invite sheep to.
       Are easier to make homey and nice.
       Make it easier to spread out & reach more of your mission field.
       Could stimulate our economy and pull us out of our current "recession"!

       As mentioned earlier, there will be more on the subject of smaller Homes coming soon, as we will generally be trying to move toward breaking up the blobs. We want to let you know of this in advance so you can begin to raise the needed funds for new housing & be looking out for any doors the Lord may open for you in this direction. Christmas time witnessing is always a very fruitful time financially, so please keep in mind the need for new smaller housing when you consider how to invest the funds the Lord supplies. For example, this would probably not be the best time to invest a lot of money in making major home improvements or building a new wing on your huge Combo house!

The Role of the Business Teamworker
       The financial matters of a Home fall under the responsibility of the Business Teamworker. This includes such things as drawing up & following a workable budget, keeping track of all bills due, paying bills on time, setting aside the tithe & Seed Corn money, building up a buffer, & keeping the Home Members (age 16 & above) informed regularly about the financial state of the Home.
       It has become apparent that sometimes the rapid turnover of Teamworkers results in financial instability in the Home, because organization drops off while the new Home Teamwork learns to work together, gets used to their new jobs, etc. Also, a lack of experience on the part of a new Business Teamworker can result in poor management of the finances.
       One of the CROs commented:  "One of the weaknesses that we find concerning finances is that the Business Teamworker is more or less a simple bookkeeper rather than a financial manager. In other words, the Business Teamworker usually just knows what the income is, as well as the expenses, & many times just faithfully records the financial ins & outs in their Home's books, but he or she does not have the vision to wisely invest & manage the funds that come in, so that the Home will have enough to cover all their expenses. Also, they often do not foresee situations that will be coming up which will need financing.
       "Many of our brethren lack experience handling business matters. Consequently, people get elected to the Home Teamwork who have little or no experience in business, which can result in a Home going broke. Each of our Combos today is a multi-faceted business in that we have many ministries going on at the same time, which requires a lot of business foresight.
       "With some people, it doesn't matter how much money is being raised, due to their lack of experience, money seems to just slip right through their fingers.--While others are able to wisely invest the little that is bestowed upon them & make even more, like the case of the faithful servant in the parable of the talents. It seems like we are in need of some financial training to help our Home Shepherds properly manage funds. If someone is not experienced in business or has no business sense, then sometimes decisions are based on personal feelings, or likes & dislikes, or even past experiences of things that have worked well in other countries or Homes, but making decisions on that basis won't necessarily be effective in their present situation. Such poor management can bring a financial collapse in what was previously a successful enterprising Home.
       "Now YAs are being elected to the Business Teamworker position. Not only do many of these YAs lack in experience, but due to previous poor Home management, many times they also inherit debts from the previous Teamwork, which brings a lot of pressure upon the new Business Teamworkers, as they have to try to bring the Home out of its bankrupt state. Also due to their lack of experience, young Business Teamworkers find it rather difficult to explain the financial situation to the rest of the Home in simple terms, as well as to make them understand why funds need to be set aside for this or that. Thus many of them then give in to pressure when, for example, the handyman department comes & asks for money for something, & then the kitchen comes for money for something else, etc., etc. So what happens is that our poor Business Teamworkers, who lack in conviction themselves, don't stick to their pre-planned budget, nor do they set aside funds for the very needed buffer.
       "So, all that to say, I feel it would be wonderful that, along with all the counsel that will be published on how to raise funds, we also make sure that our Business Shepherds get the needed instructions on how to wisely manage & save the funds that the Lord is providing for them." (End of comments from the CRO.)
       Please be very prayerful when electing your Business Teamworker, realizing that the handling of the finances greatly affects your Home! It has been reported that a financially stable Home can plummet into debt in a matter of weeks under the direction of an incapable unqualified Business Teamworker. Not everyone is suited for this position.
       It was mentioned above that some YAs who are being elected to this position lack experience, which can result in some problems. This is not to say that YAs shouldn't be elected to this position, but it certainly highlights the need for YAs & experienced adults to work together. If you as an adult have training & experience in Home business & managing money, please be faithful to work side-by-side with the YAs in your Home or Area to help train them!
       Being the Business Teamworker is a very big responsibility & a tremendously important job, & we're sorry that we haven't published more on this important role. Lord willing, we & your local Shepherds will try to publish more on this in the future. In the meantime, if you are having trouble managing your Home's finances, please contact your Area Shepherds right away & ask for help!
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: You may also find the lessons from Michael Daysman helpful. Please see "Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Management by Crisis" on page 19 of this FSM.)

Hear from the Lord & Follow Him!
       Having a fruitful, blessed, stable Home isn't only a matter of putting into practice a strict formula--do this, don't do that--but also it's the result of hearing from the Lord through the Word & prayer, & obeying & staying close to Him.
       One of the CROs shared the following comments on this subject:
       "One of the most important lessons the Lord spoke to us about during a recent NAS meeting, besides specifics regarding fund raising & shepherding, was that the Homes that are not doing well either spiritually or financially are those that are operating in a `business as usual' style, day in & day out. Although many of those Homes are working hard, they are basically `in the grind'. They are not really stopping to pray, they're not stopping to study the Word for direction & guidance. They are just reading a little Word for devotions, having a little `bless us today, Lord' prayer, & then they go on about their business as usual day after day, or week after week, or sometimes month after month.
       "As we took time to pray & evaluate the Homes that are doing well versus those that are not doing well, one of the main things the Lord showed us was the need to really labour in prayer--not just pray for the day, or pray for a few little problems, or pray for finances, but really labour in prayer for our Homes, our sheep & our children. Another point the Lordemphasized was how important it is to know how to go to the Word & study it for the different ministries your Home is involved in.
"A tangible & visible example of the benefits of depending on more prayer & the Word was evident when we visited one of the Homes in our Area. While spending time at this Home & asking the brethren how things were going, we noticed an almost incredible change for the better in their Home & attitude & the Lord's supply, from the time we had visited them one month earlier.
       "In talking & fellowshipping with these dear brethren it was quite amazing to hear their testimonies, which were all based around prayer. The Teamwork shared that they had been spending a lot more time in prayer with the Home. They had taken time to hear from the Lord through prophecy about the different problems they were facing, & they had also taken the time to go over what the Lord had said, jotting down the problems & pow-wowing with the Home what the solutions were. They also went to the Word for instruction. From there, they made to-do lists according to the instruction the Lord had given them.
       "When listening to them it dawned on us that there was no `magic formula' that had changed things for the better in their Home, other than the fact that they'd not only begun praying more, but they had also begun going to the Word more, listening to the Lord more & taking time to put into effect the things the Lord had showed them.
       "After seeing this, we began to wonder if perhaps helping our Homes to spend more time praying, hearing from the Lord, & diving into the Word for their ministries could also be a part of the solution to the problems we're facing. In thinking about it, we realized that all of the answers are in the Word--on finances, how to pray them in, how to follow-up, how to raise our children, how to shepherd our Homes, etc. There's the whole shepherding series (FSMs 234, 239 & 248), which if read, studied & really applied could help almost anyone to shepherd a Home properly--as long as they're close to the Lord, of course. The many FSMs on witnessing & follow-up are very clear how-to's for these ministries. There's so much written on childcare that we're sure we could all do a good job with our children if we followed that counsel closely, with the Lord's help, of course.
       "It really takes a lot of effort to labour in prayer, & it is sometimes harder work than just going about doing things in the arm of the flesh, or at least so it seems to us. In other words, one reason we feel that people don't pray more is because in some ways it's difficult to stop & labour in prayer. You almost feel more tired from spending the morning in prayer than from working. Of course when you're finished you're completely re-envisioned, you have direction from the Lord, you are encouraged & uplifted, but physically it can be quite tiring.
       "It also takes a lot of faith to stop & pray, as we really have to believe that we have chosen the better part that will never be taken away from us, & that the Lord will truly do the work through us then, instead of our trying to do it ourselves."

A Lost Opportunity!
From John Simple, Europe
       It all started five years ago when I first returned from India. I had been in Italy for just a few days when one night I had a dream of a man who's name is Raul Gardini. I hardly knew anything about this man before dreaming about him, except that he was a very big man in Italian industry and finances. In the dream he was very broken and sad and we were witnessing to him and he was responding appreciatively.
       I am not the kind of person who dreams much. The thought of possibly trying to visit this man crossed my mind, but I felt kind of odd about putting too much faith in a dream, so I just prayed for him and did not plan on doing anything more about it. In the following month, though, I was often reminded of my dream by the fact that this man was constantly in the newspapers due to an ongoing struggle between him and the government over the control of the chemical and energy industry in the country.
       About a year later I had another dream about this man and again it was the same thing. In my dream the Family was ministering to this man and he was a real friend and thankful for how we were helping him. I am sorry to say that again I did nothing more than pray for him and maybe share the dream with a few people.
       I had the means to try and contact this man but I think my favourite excuse was "I am not the type of person to do this sort of thing. I should get someone else to do it who's more gifted in approaching this type of people." Even if this was true about me, I was still hindered in my asking others to try to approach this man, because of my fear of appearing a little off, or over-spiritual, impractical, paying too much attention to a dream, etc.
       A couple of years later I was in Bulgaria. I had been there for a while and again I had a dream about this man. This time the man was more desperate than before, he was more broken and dissatisfied and looking to us for an answer. I felt real convicted for not having tried to contact him before, but since I was now so far away I simply decided to write to him. But the next day, instead of posting the letter, I started thinking that the whole thing was rather crazy, that if he ever even got the letter that's exactly what he would have thought of me, that I was crazy. On top of it I was very doubtful that the letter would ever get to him, thinking that his secretary would definitely throw it in the trash upon seeing it. With this in my mind, I decided to make things simpler by just trashing the letter myself.
       A year later I had the opportunity to pass through Italy, through the very city where this man resides part of the time. I mustered up enough courage and planned to go and try to meet him at his villa. Due to different circumstances, however, I was delayed that day, so that by the time I was ready to go it was already the evening. This was enough of an excuse for me to change plans and thus avoid the embarrassment of going to knock at some stranger's villa, asking to talk to its owner about some dreams I had.
       I returned to Hungary where I was then residing and I think it was shortly thereafter that I had another dream about the man. This time I decided to write the Family in Italy and tell them the whole story, asking them to perhaps try to approach this man. To this day I still don't know if they did try to see him or not, but I know that I felt a bit cheap in asking others to do something the Lord was obviously asking me to do.
       Less than four months ago I was involved in an automobile accident. At first it was hard to see what lessons the Lord might have had in it for me. In the actual circumstances of the accident I was not at fault, and as with other things in my life, I couldn't see where I was falling short to deserve such affliction. It seemed to me that I had walked the straight and narrow path, obeying the least of my "human" Shepherds' commands and sacrificing to the best of my abilities to "get the job done". My good works had somewhat blinded me to my lack of real obedience to the Lord and to His small voice. I was obeying the letter of the law, but not in Spirit and Truth. My link with the Lord had greatly waned, while I was resting in the arm of the flesh and the false solace of fleshly accomplishments.
       As I said, this accident was the beginning of my realizing that something wasn't right between me and the Lord and that He was trying to bring me closer to Him.  But it wasn't until I went to Italy again that I did some good crying and begging the Lord to forgive me and help me to follow more closely. There was one thing that really brought me to realize the degree of my disobedience and how my pride, fear and lack of faith had kept me from obeying His commands. While in Italy, I asked someone to update me on any news concerning the man I had often dreamed about. I was told that he was dead, that he had recently committed suicide!
       When I looked at what wonderful things could have happened if I had obeyed, the Salvation we could have brought to this man and the blessing he could have been to the Family, it all made me feel very cheap and discouraged. Writing about this is very humbling. It's also such a sad story that I hesitate to drag anybody else down with it. On the other hand, the whole thing has given me a new determination to not fail the Lord or others again--to do better and follow Him more closely. Also, since we are entering a time where we will need a lot of crazy faith to obey the Lord in whichever way He leads us, then perhaps this can be a lesson for others as well, and they can also learn from my sad mistakes.
       ({\ul \i Comment from Mama}: Thank you, dear John, for being willing to write this testimony. Maybe through your mistakes & this sad experience, many more people like Raul will be saved. Even if one person was lost, many more can be rescued. This is very very thought-provoking! God bless you! Love, Mama)

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Management by Crisis!
From Michael Daysman, North America
       A couple of years ago I was asked to work in a Teamwork as the Business Shepherd. That wasn't anything new for me, as I had been doing that job for a number of years, and had always considered business and finances my fort.
       Before I continue with this testimony, I want to point out that I am not trying to blow my own horn here. The change that came about in my life was a direct result of a lot of training by my leaders where there was a lot of emphasis put on understanding the standard of the Word and praying about it and then obeying the Word by putting into practice what it said.
       When I moved into the Home, it was caught up in the vicious cycle of management by crisis. When the rent would come due, for example, the common practice would be to get the whole Home together a few days or even the night before the rent was due to desperately cry out to the Lord to supply the rent. The Home was running below empty, continually behind on its bills and under the stress of constant financial pressures. This resulted in a lot of adverse side effects in the Home in general and in individual lives, and contributed to the overall spiritual battles of the Home.
       Due to the financial stress and strain, finances dictated a lot of our daily decisions in the Teamwork. The Home continued on in this financial state for the next few months, and we couldn't seem to pull out of the pattern we were wrapped up in.
       What I didn't fully realize at the time as the Business Shepherd was just how much the continuing problem was due to my own lack of taking responsibility. When the Teamwork would get together and I would be asked the question, "How is the Home doing financially?", more often than not I found myself answering, "Okay, I guess. I'm not exactly sure where we are at. I'm a little behind on my books. Give me a couple of days and I should be able to give you an answer."
       I began to analyze the quality of my work, & I started to see things I needed to change. I needed to change my standard of obedience. I needed to change my work habits, and I needed to set goals for myself and meet deadlines. I needed to pray more and seek God desperately for the answers to the problems. I saw that not only did I have the responsibility of the title to do the job, but I had the authority to make the changes in my own life and in the Home in training others that could rectify the situation and change the course we were on financially as a Home.
       At the same time, I came to another very shocking realization! Because I was continually falling short in my obligations and duties as the Business Teamworker, the end result was that I found myself under an incredible amount of pressure and strain, not to mention how it affected others in the Home. I saw I was carrying the financial responsibilities of the Home in the arm of the flesh, operating a great deal of the time according to my own ideas and making decisions based on the continual financial crises.
       I wasn't able to give the load to the Lord, because I wasn't fully obeying & implementing the counsel in the Letters. The Lord showed me that the only way I could help the whole Teamwork shoulder the financial load and place the financial responsibility squarely in the Home's court, where it belongs, was to do my job diligently.
       I realized I needed a solution to the problem. I determined I needed to go to the Word about it, to dig into the Word in depth to find the solution. As I did, it began to dawn on me that most of the problem was due to my own lack of delivering in my responsibility of keeping a close eye on the finances so I could know at all times where we were at & where we were headed. I had fallen prey to my own procrastination and failure to complete the work that only I could do.
       I was not carrying through with the methods and guidelines spelled out very specifically in the Word. I simply wasn't getting my work done, to the extent that it was very difficult to uphold the standard of the Word with every decision. I was allowing crisis decisions to dictate the standard. That is a very difficult cycle to break out of, but I determined I was going to change.       
       One of the first steps I took was to study "How To Get Things Done", especially the first few chapters of the book. There is a wealth of knowledge & good practical advice to be found there.
       Next, I realized that as I read these pubs I needed to ask myself, "Am I doing what it says?" If I wasn't, & if my answer was "no," then that was a clear indication that I wasn't implementing the counsel in our pubs. I drew up some checklists to help me define my job & set priorities. The hardest part for me to do was to discipline myself to stick to those priorities & guidelines & to not get tripped off on something else. So I desperately prayed & asked the Lord to help me become more faithful in that respect, & to help me get my work done faithfully on a regular basis.
       I also found that it helps to look for repetitive tasks that you can cultivate into habits, things that will make it easier to get your job done if you do them faithfully & regularly. One thing I use that helps me a lot is a simple line graph where I can plot the weekly financial progress of the Home's income. I set it up three months into the future & mark out a red line week-by-week that shows our income goal. Then I keep track of the Home's income using that graph, plotting the daily or weekly income. With such a graph, it's easy to see at a glance if your income is doing okay & if you are making good progress.
       So my suggestion is to look for simple things, like this example of using a line graph, that you know you can be faithful with daily, & you will find those simple things will help you a lot.
       The next important point is to use a method of bookkeeping that works.  Our CRO office had sent us a very good class on how to manage our finances & budget our expenses, so I set out to "religiously" follow the guidelines set forth in that class. In most Homes, the Business Teamworker manages thousands of Dollars a month, so you don't want to use an inadequate method in managing money. I also use an easy programme on the computer to keep records. Using a computer might not be essential, but it has helped me.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: If your CRO Shepherds have provided you with a class on managing finances, please take heed to their guidance, as it will probably be a great help to you, as in the case of Michael when he did his best to implement the suggestions put forth by his Shepherds. We hope to print some guidelines on managing finances in the near future, Lord willing. But in the meantime, if you need assistance in learning to manage your finances, please {\ul \i ask for help}!)
       It is also essential to establish financial procedures & policies that everyone in the Home agrees upon & gets behind. We tried a simple plan in our Home & soon everyone in the Home was faithfully following the plan, which was a help. For example, part of this plan was that we agreed to turn in requests for finances ahead of time, to allow time to investigate the state of the finances & pray about how much we could afford to spend. This helped a lot, because if you think you can consistently make wise, Spirit-led decisions about finances on a hunch, without actually knowing the facts concerning your immediate financial state, you are only fooling yourself!--And a fool & his money are soon parted.
       We all know how easy it is to buy this or that while you're out witnessing & just deduct the expenses of your purchases from your daily income. But we as a Home decided not to spend any of the income we generated without counselling. In other words, we would turn all the money into the Home finances, so that the money could be allocated into the budget first, rather than everyone spending it here & there while out.
       We also required faithful reporting from people who were given money for different expenses. As a result, our Home Members became very faithful to return petty cash records of their expenses. We have found that the "no tickie, no laundie" (no finance report, no more money) system is an excellent way to get finance reports in on time, so we can keep accurate finance records.
       I found the Home's financial progress was dependent on two major things: The first factor was the united effort of the Home. Our progress was directly proportionate to the degree of our united effort. The second factor was me & how well I executed the powers & responsibilities of my office as the Business Teamworker.  In other words, a lot depended on how well I did my job as the Business Teamworker.
       Let me give you an example of what I mean when I say I wasn't fully implementing counsel in the Word. As a Business Teamworker you are faced daily with decisions that can affect the financial progress of the Home. Sometimes the decisions that come up are difficult, so it is important to be Spirit-led, instead of attempting to solve the problems in the arm of the flesh.
       When you seek the solution to a particular problem, one of the first things to do is go to the Word. You can usually find specific quotes that tell you what to do. For example, in "The Shepherd's Rod" (ML#682), Dad says that if you don't have the money to pay the rent you shouldn't spend money on food. Let's assume your Home spends a lot of money on milk, so you as the Business Teamworker decide too much money is being spent on that item. So with your best intentions to try to correct the problem, you might be tempted to lay down the law & say, "From this point on we will no longer buy milk until we have the rent money."
       But then what happens when you turn around & the sweet kitchen overseer asks if you can please go buy some milk, which of course your Home Members & children & pregnant mommies need & should have? So this is a dilemma.... You have attempted to solve a problem, you implemented what you thought was a solution from the Word, but another crisis has cropped up. Obviously, something is missing. It usually means you haven't yet found the full answer in the Word, because the Word has the answers to all of our problems.
       You know the Word says you aren't supposed to spend the money on food when you don't have the rent, but you also know the Home Members need milk. What do you do? When you think about it, you realize there must be more to the answer than simply cutting off the milk expense, because nobody wants to deny milk to your Home, but I have made some mistakes like that.  So you have to go back & dig deeper in the Word.
       If you go back to the same Letter, you'll also find where Dad says that he never missed a meal in all his life of living by faith.--That doesn't sound like we would advocate denying someone the milk they need, does it?  So as you think & pray about it, you can see that curtailing expenses is only part of the solution. The full answer is that we also have to have more faith for our needs, & in this case it might mean putting the emphasis not only on cutting expenses, but also on raising more income, or on more provisioning.
       So to fully implement the Word you have to go beyond taking shallow short-sighted steps, such as just indiscriminately cutting off various food expenses from the budget in an attempt to solve the problem. That's not the full answer & that's not implementing the full counsel of God.
       Once you set goals, it still takes a lot of work to turn things around. Its important to just keep at it & keep making adjustments until things do get turned around & things get on the right course. Eventually you will reach your goals if you keep at it, & keep making the needed corrections that will get you back on course. You do that by going to the Word for more solutions to new aspects of the problem as more crisis situations come up.
       Getting the Home together to decide on a plan to help reach long-term goals is essential. Then the united decisions & goals you've established together run the Home. That can alleviate a lot of pressure for the Business Teamworker. But as the Business Teamworker you have to continually check your decisions to make sure each decision you make is in compliance with the Home's goals & keeps you on the right course in implementing the Word.
       I think the way to express what I learned is best summed up by saying I learned the value of putting the guidance in the Word into practice and how essential it really is. It works. I think the change that came about in my life is that I got a lot more serious about my responsibility to implement the Word. You never fully realize how much blame can land at your own door until you realize how responsible you are. I still make a lot of the same kind of mistakes--maybe not as often--but even those mistakes can be turned into something constructive if you learn from them & keep striving to improve the way you do your job.
       Soon, as more policy from the Word was implemented in our Home, the load became lighter for everyone. We started getting our rent ahead of time, and I heard comments like, "Wow, this is sure nice for a change, I can't believe we don't have to have an emergency meeting to discuss how we are going to pay the rent!" A lot of worry and anxiety was removed from the Home, the kind which was replaced by the kind of liberty & freedom of the Spirit that comes from knowing you are in capable hands--the Lord's Hands, as we looked to Him & obeyed His Word to the best of our ability. All glory to the Lord!
({\ul \i Editor's note}: The good lessons Michael shares about going to the Word & putting into effect the counsel found therein can be applied not just to the ministry of the Business Teamwork, but to {\ul \i all ministries}! "{\ul \i Study} to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, {\ul \i rightly dividing the Word of Truth}!"--2Tim.2:15.)

Prayer & Obedience Bring Immediate Financial Blessings!
From Ruthie Virginia (formerly Ruthie Manuel), South America
       For some reason our mostly YA Home was having a hard time making ends meet, even though we were faithfully sending teams out every day. For at least a month I was going out daily, meeting my contacts, & doing the usual things that had previously always brought in our needed funds. But this time it was especially hard & almost nothing was coming in, hardly any tools were going out, & it was quite discouraging for all of us. We were also in the process of closing down our Home & had to raise money for a debt we owed as well as the rest of the bills.
       I personally got quite negative & discouraged about it all & started to think in the following terms: "Here we are, everyone working so hard we don't even have time to keep up with the teens' scholastic requirements, as well as some of the other DTR requirements. We're working so hard, yet we're not able to pay our bills. I supposedly got all this training from the training centre, & I can't even put it into practice here in a field Home. Having a Home run smoothly, keeping all the DTR requirements, & making sure no one gets overburdened only works in a training centre that receives some WS support & has top leaders that really know what they're doing. Let's face it, here on the field, it's too hard to really live the DTR; there are just too many things you have to contend with daily, you can't do it all! We just have to do what we can & forget about really living the DTR."
       Coming to that shockingly wrong conclusion was just what I needed to wake me up, as it was so obviously wrong & against the Word! I right away realized that that must be where we were failing. We were putting the cart before the horse by neglecting to obey the DTR to the full!
       So the next morning after devotions we decided to desperately pray together for the Lord's supply. First of all we thanked the Lord that so far we had never lacked for one balanced meal, but we did want to ask Him if we were failing in any way, because if there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that He never fails us & He abundantly supplies all our needs when we fully obey Him. So as we prayed & heard from the Lord, not only was it very unifying for the Home, but the Lord faithfully encouraged us to keep up the faith & also highlighted to us the importance of seeking first His Kingdom & doing our part to obey Him to the best of our ability!
       We then went over the list of DTR requirements & decided to make sure that that day we would fully implement every one of them. The people who hadn't written their OHR the previous week decided to write it that day; we kept the teens who needed to get in their school hours home from witnessing; & we arranged that those that needed Personal Time would get it within the next few days, etc.
       Thank the Lord, even after deciding to do all that, we still had enough people to send out two teams, one on follow-up & one on outreach. Besides that, we decided that the people who stayed Home would get together every hour to pray for the teams out, that they'd be fruitful, & for the Lord's abundant supply, as well as everyone's inspiration in whatever they were doing.        Well, guess what happened? That same day, one supporter that we had been trying to see for so long unexpectedly phoned us & offered a donation! Hours later, another friend also called us, telling us she had a donation for us if we could please come & pick it up at her office! And to top off the day, our outreach team got out a six-pack of Videos! All of this happened the same day! Hallelujah!
       So with the funds that came in that day, we had enough to pay all our bills, as well as send out a two-man faith trip a few days later that got out 20 Videos in half a day! Plus, the very next day another team got out a 10-pack! What a string of miracles!
Encouraged by the Lord's immediate answer to prayer, we committed ourselves to continue to try to obey the DTR Requirements to the best of our ability. We also decided as a Home that we would keep up that wonderful practice of everyone stopping every hour to pray for the teams out & any other timely prayer requests.

How We Got Out of Debt!
From John, Area Shepherd in Japan
       We have to give the Lord all the glory for helping us get out of debt, because He really did it all! We wanted to implement the very inspiring "Loving Shepherding" guidelines (FSMs 234, 239 & 248) & get organized in different areas of the Home, but we just didn't feel we could do this very well, because we were having to continually contend with huge financial burdens & pending bills, etc.
       To give you an idea of what we were up against: One night one of the Home Teamworkers mentioned that we needed 400,000 yen (approximately $4,000) the next day for the rent for our large Home & that the outreach teams weren't doing so well. Then he said that we also needed another one million yen (approximately $10,000) in four more days! We didn't know what to do! So we really cried out to the Lord, & He showed us that we needed to fight these battles in prayer & in the Spirit before trying to make any progress in the physical.
       We got together with the Home & had a desperate prayer meeting, crying out to the Lord & asking Him to speak to us & help us face these problems & go on the attack to win victories. This was quite a prayer meeting, which lasted for about three hours. The Lord spoke to us beautifully in prophecy & gave us direction on what we needed to do. He also showed us who and what was hindering us in the spiritual realm. We received the verse about the Prince of Persia withstanding Daniel, & the Lord showed us the forces that were withstanding us, as well as the Enemy's strongholds that He wanted us to attack with the weapons of prayer & the Word.
       It was quite a fight & battle in the Spirit, but we all poured out our hearts to the Lord, asking for His help. We fought in the Spirit, rebuking the Enemy & his hinderers, which the Lord revealed to us by name & in visions. Then the Lord started to pour out in prophecy His promises of blessings! Thank You Jesus!
       And since then, the Lord's blessings have been pouring out upon us abundantly! It's still not without a fight, & we have to do everything we can, but the Lord is & has been faithful to supply every need as we obey!
       After this prayer meeting we did the few things that we could do, such as trying to help lift the financial burden off of the witnessers' shoulders. We did this mainly by trying to instill the attitude in everyone that outreach doesn't just equal finances but rather obedience to the Lord, & that if we are faithful to obey the Lord & get out His Message & love the lost, then He will supply in whatever way He sees fit. Everyone started going out witnessing with better motives. We also tried to share the exciting testimonies with the Home daily, as well as stats of all that the Lord was doing & accomplishing through the outreach teams, follow-up, etc. In general, we tried to renew everyone's vision that witnessing is fun & exciting.
       We also checked into the witnessing teams & the scheduling, & took time to hear from various witnessers as to what they felt the problems were. We started to find a lot of reasons why things weren't going the way we had hoped, which helped us find practical solutions. In general, there was an unrealistic "God-will-supply-no-matter-what" type of attitude amongst some of the Home Members, without consideration being given to what the Lord was requiring us to do, as part of that bargain! In addition to this, the Teamwork wasn't really zeroing in on the outreach & follow-up, as other aspects of the Home were getting most of their attention. So what was happening was that the teams going out were leaving the Home very late, with little or no direction; & they would only spend an hour or two on the field witnessing & then return home without accomplishing much. Also the outreach teams that were put together weren't very well balanced or organized, so they didn't do that well together.
       After seeing these problems, we started to attack in these areas by asking our Home shiner to put together suggested shiner witnessing teams daily. He had gone out witnessing with just about everyone in the Home, so he knew everyone's talents & abilities, from the adults to the children. The Home Teamwork gave him a lot of leeway to make suggestions & let him put together these teams, which turned out to be a real victory! These teams really worked, & it was such an encouraging example of pumping people power! We also started working it out so the teams could leave earlier in the morning & they were committed to try to get in about five hours of witnessing daily; & as a result, everyone started to learn that God blesses obedience!
       I don't think I've mentioned anything new in this testimony, but rather just points that we all have to continually be aware of and check up on. Another very important factor was that there were a lot of other brethren praying for us, which we could really feel! We are also learning how important it is that our precious witnessers, who pour out so much themselves, get poured into & strengthened as well.        As we did the "wenting" He started to bless with exciting witnessing opportunities, tools out, new contacts met & lots of people won to the Lord! The children became real excited about witnessing. It seems the Lord was happy with us getting our motives straightened out & spending more time out reaching the lost, so He felt we were worthy of His support & He started supplying our needs abundantly. We received gifts through the mail & many other good donations too! Praise the Lord!
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       This is a vision someone in North America had during united prayer for their new Fund Raising Ministry:
       I had a vision of the cover of "The Way of Pioneers" (ML#2448) where the big rock is being pushed, only in this picture there wasn't just one person pushing the rock, but there were many of us pushing together. The rock was in front of a cave & we had to move the rock out of the way. There was a treasure hidden in the cave, but we had to roll away the stone. This seemed to indicate that pushing unitedly was what it was going to take to get this new witnessing/fund raising ministry going.
       After the rock was moved out of the way, gold coins started rolling out of the cave. Soon there was a flood of gold coins--nonstop! It was like a treasure chest had been opened & poured out, the coins just rolled & rolled, more than enough! Praise the Lord!
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Copyright 1996 The Family