GN 1200 FD/MM/FM
By Peter 3630 12/06
1. God bless you and Happy New Year 2007! Mama and I love you dearly. We pray that 2007 will be a great year for each of you personally, for your Home, your region, and for the whole Family. When looking at all that's planned for this year, it's easy to see that it's going to be a big one! It promises to be a busy year, a fruitful year, a year that will be key in getting us ready for the upcoming offensive. And when we refer to the offensive‚ we're referring to it as not just a witnessing offensive but a winning offensive. That's the goal‚ after all, to win!
2. In case you're wondering, this isn't the traditional year-end GN that covers the news and many victories of 2006. You should be getting that GN shortly‚ and Mama and I are sure you'll be inspired to read all the progress made last year. We sure were! 2006 was a terrific year! Don't miss the year-end GN or you'll miss a real uplift in the spirit!
3. One thing the Lord told Mama and me that we needed to do during 2006 was to monitor how the various initiatives that have been put into action over the past few years are playing out. During the years of restructuring‚ a number of monumental changes were made, as you know—changes like an increase in the minimum Home size; disbanding the VS program; introducing Home accountability; the new Home governance structure; the coach program; an increased focus on shepherding; taking our kids out of System school; the creation of the MM category; the board criteria; the Home review, to name just a few of the majors.
4. Over the last three years, these changes have been working their way into the fabric of the Family, and‚ following the Lord's instruction, we wanted to analyze them to see if they are being effective, if they are accomplishing what they were intended to‚ and if they are in need of any adjustments or changes.
5. In September 2006 we sent a number of questions to the RSs in each region for them to answer individually. Their answers were very helpful in giving us a picture of how the restructuring is taking effect. The RSs commented on how the Family is generally doing, what the weaker areas of the Family are, and how each main aspect of the restructuring is progressing. In studying what amounted to 150 GN pages of feedback, Mama and I were able to see what the RSs feel are some of the challenges we will face in 2007, as we continue on in what's left of the 18 months of strengthening and training.
6. Generally speaking‚ the RSs' analyses were inspiring, as they showed that a great deal of progress has been made over the past years. The new Home governance program of the Steering Council, made up of the Home shepherd and Home manager bodies, is taking root. Many Homes are getting stable. The coach program is finding its footing and becoming more and more effective. Many Homes are growing stronger as they work toward the upcoming April 2007 review, when Homes will be required to pass in all boards. In a nutshell, progress is being made on many fronts.
7. These analyses revealed some trends that are common to virtually all regions, along with other trends that are region-specific. After reading these analyses and discussing and praying about them, the Lord showed us that it would be helpful to share some of the key points with you as early as possible to help you to make the most of this new year ahead. He also spoke to us about a number of other topics relating to the vision and goals of 2007, and how they will work toward moving us into the upcoming offensive. Mama and I believe you'll find this information challenging and very relevant to your current focus of working toward the offensive.
8. The offensive has been on Mama's and my heart over the past six months. We've been praying and desperately seeking the Lord for His plan, for what the offensive means, how we will bring it about, what it entails, how to implement it, etc. Over the past months we've had a number of brainstorming meetings regarding various aspects of the offensive. It's exciting! We don't have the complete picture yet, but it's coming into view more clearly. Please pray for us as we seek the Lord, as we meet with our counselors, and as we hear from Him in prophecy about all the facets of the offensive. Later this year we'll be writing you about some aspects of the offensive that He's made clear already, and as the year progresses, we'll continue to share more of what the Lord has shown us.
9. One thing I can tell you is that the Lord has said the official launch date for the offensive should be February 18, 2008. So that's the goal we're aiming for. That's basically 13 months from now. This gives Mama and me and our counselors just over a year to pull down and prepare the plans for the offensive. This gives you just over a year to get fully ready—personally, and as a winning team Home.
10. Let's review the goals the Lord laid out for us in "Our Pre-Attack Plan," which was published six months ago in June 2006 (GN 1177). Let's see how much progress has been made in each goal.
*At the RS level
11. Goal #1: To stabilize their Homes to the degree that they will be able to pull back from being intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the Home, with the final goal of being virtually free from involvement in the Home so that they can focus their time and attention outward, toward their region and boards. This is a work in progress, because, like any other Family Home‚ it takes time and work to build a stable, winning team.
12. Progress: Mama and I are pleased to see how much progress has been made on this front. In this past year, all RSs have worked to build strong Home teams through shepherding and challenging their Home members, by adding new personnel, and through forming "core teams" of people who help them in their ministries.
13. Several RS Homes have moved into new housing. A number of other RSs are presently in the midst of moving into new houses, a few have moves planned in the near future, while others already have housing that suits their and their team's needs. They're making sure they have proper housing for the job and the right team to make the Home successful, so that they can pull back and focus on the jobs that only they can do, as regional shepherds.
14. Goal #2: To evaluate the personnel makeup of their Homes as well as those who help them to run the regional services; to ensure they have a well-rounded and sufficiently staffed team to work with.
15. Progress: Mama and I are happy to see that a great deal of progress has been made on this front. A number of RSs who didn't have secretaries at the beginning of the year have found them and others to help them in their work. Others are still looking for helpers. So if you have secretarial skills, or are willing to learn, and you want to be part of a dedicated, hard-working team‚ please write your RSs, as you may be just the person they're praying for.
16. Goal #3: To strengthen and stabilize their regional desks and shepherding desks‚ as both of these desks are relatively new but play a big role in serving the Family at the regional level.
17. Progress: Concrete progress has been made in strengthening and stabilizing the regional and shepherding desks over the last months. In most cases, the regional desks and shepherding desks needed help due to the fact that these were new desks and the individuals manning them were new to the job. It's a huge job, and we're very thankful for those who are willing to serve their region in this capacity. Most of the desks have stabilized a great deal in the last year, and we trust that as this year progresses they will become even more proficient in their service.
18. Goal #4: To make sure their Regional Council is an effective body.
19. Progress: Throughout the second half of 2006, the RSs in each region prayed about and analyzed what steps could be taken to strengthen their Regional Councils. A greater focus is now being placed on strengthening the Regional Council body, working together as a council to strengthen the overall region, and the RBCs focusing on the direction of their region as a whole and not only their individual boards. This is a work in progress, with the goal of building strong, effective Regional Councils during 2007.
20. At Summit 2006, the Lord highlighted to Mama and me the importance of the Regional Council body. As you know, it's the responsibility of the Regional Council to determine the direction for their region; to promote regional and national programs; to coordinate the initiatives and events of all the boards in the region; and to prayerfully assess and evaluate the progress of the region, among other things. It's vital that sufficient time and prayer is devoted to this job, so that each region is well coordinated and moving forward.
21. Those who sit on the Regional Council make up the body of regional leadership in your area, and these are the people responsible to carry out the duties that fall to the Regional Council‚ as per the Charter. (See "Responsibilities and Authority of the Regional Council," in the compiled online Charter file, which includes all GN amendments. http://www.familymembers.com/pubs/pub.gd.6) There are additional duties that rest with the body of regional shepherds; however, the Lord has encouraged us to pass on more responsibility to the Regional Council level, in order to share the heavy load that the RSs have been carrying for so many years, and to raise up more leadership. Please keep your Regional Council members in your prayers as they serve you.
22. It will require training and time for the Regional Council members to grow into the job of regional leadership. To help to achieve this goal‚ Mama and I are providing a training program for all Regional Council members. This training program is now underway and consists of Regional Council members going through some already created training programs. It features a Regional Council website, where Regional Council members will receive targeted training and input specific to their job as RBCs and Regional Council members.
* At the board level
23. Goal #1: At the international board meetings held in March 2006, each board made plans to create or implement training programs that are geared toward helping the Homes progress in the pillar of Family life that their board focuses on.
24. Progress: The boards have been working hard throughout this past year to create or fine–tune their training programs and tools to help you. As a result, there will be a number of programs‚ pubs, and online material made available throughout this year which will help you to progress in every pillar. Mama and I are thrilled about the work the international boards have done and the material they are producing, and we're sure you will be too.
* At the WS level
25. Goal #1: To create and fill out the "board teams" who assist the IBCs in carrying out the decisions of the international boards. To build well-rounded teams of secretaries, writers‚ editors and others within WS to help the IBCs.
26. Progress: We've been moderately successful in this. The CP, CS and PR boards have fairly strong teams. The FED team needs more personnel. The, JT and CGO teams are both only teams of two—the IBC and a secretary. These teams desperately need help, but we haven't been able to supply them with additional personnel from within WS. Thankfully‚ a few of the board teams are benefiting from the help of those on the field who give time toward international board projects, and that is a big help. However, the need is growing rather desperate, as these boards both have huge projects ahead of them‚ particularly CGO with the offensive on the horizon. If you have secretarial or creative writing skills and have a burden to help any of these boards at the international level (whether from the field‚ or if you're willing to join WS to help fill this need), please write us at email@example.com and let us know.
27. Goal #2: For the boards to take over the content of the publications created for that board's constituents.
28. Progress: Some progress has been made on this front‚ but we're behind schedule. It's taking longer than we anticipated to provide the needed training for those on the board teams who will be taking over the responsibility of producing text. The person who is giving the text training recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, which has naturally slowed the training process. Also, extra focus has had to be directed to helping some of the boards finalize their training programs.
29. We are currently adjusting the time frame of this goal to mid-2007‚ at which time we hope the boards will be fully responsible for the text of their pubs.
30. Goal #3: Align the Family music production with the boards, so that the respective boards determine the direction of musical productions geared to the audience they are responsible for, as well as approving the music and lyrics.
31. Progress: This is underway and has been for a number of months. Naturally, any new course of action requires time to work out the kinks, and this change is no different. At a recent meeting with the overseer of the Family Audio Department and the IBCs, it was determined that each entity that produces music—whether board or other—will have a specified amount of funds for their yearly musical productions.
32. What this means is that, by God's grace, the focus of the music will be a variety of music for different needs. Upcoming focuses include music for our JETTs and teens, key promise songs for all to aid in key memorization, the children's Word Curriculum 2004 memory plan on CD, witnessing music, and devotional music (which includes Loving Jesus songs). The devotional music category will feature songs that will strengthen our Active and General members' connection with the Lord.
33. Goal #4: Prepare a Home Manager Training Program.
34. Progress: During the last quarter of 2006, my team and I, along with the help of some of the RSs and others on the field, have been working on the Home Manager Training Program (HMTP). We're glad to announce that the creation of this program is on schedule, and it will in fact be launched this month—earlier than originally anticipated. We believe that this course will go a long way in helping to make the management side of the Homes much stronger.
35. Goal #5: Mama and I continue to train Family leadership.
36. Progress: We've continued to give training to the RSs through their website. I was able to visit with the RSs in three regions last year and plan to visit with other RS teamworks in 2007. In the second quarter of 2006, Mama and I, along with my team‚ developed a spiritual leadership retreat which consisted of 18 hours of audio classes for our executive leadership body, the RSs and IBCs. All of the RSs and IBCs will have completed this retreat by the middle of February, Lord willing.
37. As mentioned above, we're also developing a Regional Council training course to help all Regional Council members grow in their ministry and in their leadership responsibilities. This will be an ongoing course.
38. So, as you can see, significant progress has been made toward reaching the goals at the RS, board, and WS levels. There's more to do to fully reach these goals, but definite headway has been made in the last six months, and we're generally on schedule. Mama and I are encouraged by this progress, and we believe that by the Lord's grace, these goals will be reached by the end of the year.
* At the Home Level
39. The goals for the Homes include:
1) focusing on building winning teams;
2) progressing in implementing the criteria;
3) ensuring that your Home progresses to the point of passing all boards in the April 2007 review.
40. Major progress has been made in goals two and three, and generally speaking, Homes are doing better on their Home reviews. Goal number one—which is building winning teams—still needs significant improvement. Homes have been working toward building winning teams, and a percentage of Homes have been able to stabilize and establish their teams, but many Homes are still in the process of finding and building their winning team. Of course, all of this is a work in progress and we haven't fully reached these goals yet. But that's okay. We still have all of this year to work on these areas, to make progress, and to get ready for the offensive. But in order to reach these goals, it's going to require work and continued focus.
41. In studying the analyses of the RSs, one comment that many RSs made was that there is still a great deal of movement within the regions. Here is a sampling of comments that illustrate the point:
"We haven't seen a decrease in the amount of movement of personnel, moving houses, etc. In fact, there seems to be more movement than ever with a number of Homes 'up in the air' without teams or houses, as well as a lot of people still struggling to 'find their place.' There are some longer-established Homes that are stable, but I would say that a good 40-50% of our Homes are still in the midst of changes and have not completed the forming of their winning teams yet. There are some Homes that are in the process of merging together, but the changes are taking longer than expected due to difficulties in finding appropriate housing, and other challenges."
"I would say for the most part that the Homes are still in a state of fluctuating personnel, finding well-balanced and winning teams. When the minimum Home size was raised‚ our region had 70 FD Homes, and of those, 45 were undersized—under four voting members. So by the time they had to have six members 18 and up, many Homes merged or found new members, but not all carefully studied and applied the counsel in the GNs on finding the right people. As a result, we still have a lot of movement. Right now there are just over 30 FD Homes in our region. Six of these are closing, merging or disbanding in the next few months, so we are still going to see more movement."
"There is a big flux of personnel. Some of our Homes that have been more or less stable have now become unstable and are in the process of personnel coming and going. The goal is that they become winning teams during these 18 months, but we have a good number of Homes that have just started that process now as their Homes are starting over."
"There is still significant personnel flux‚ which creates a sense of instability in the area."
"During the last four years we have had constant movement in our region and fairly intense movement during the last two years. I feel this has discouraged the Homes from building a steady flock, as they didn't know how long they would remain in that city or even in the country."
"There's a lot of shifting right now, and it seems pretty much everyone is looking for the team that they will stick with. The restructuring is still going full throttle, and lots of movement is happening in our area. I think it'll take a little while to see how things pan out."
"At this time the movement between Homes, and Homes establishing lasting works, is one of the greatest hindrances to the progress of our work."
42. From what we can gather from the RS analyses, it seems somewhere between 45-50% of the Homes are stable, with the rest still struggling to find the right team to work with. It seems that in 2004-2005 some of you tried to build winning teams only to find that your new team wasn't working well together. So you disbanded your Home, or your Home split up, or some of you moved to a new Home or field‚ and you had to start over.
43. It's understandable that if your team didn't gel, or for whatever reason your Home didn't have the right personnel or the right dynamics to be a winning team, you are now in the process of finding new Homes or new teams to work with. After "Our Pre-Attack Plan" was published, a number of Homes evidently took stock of their Home and situation and realized that their present team didn't have the components of a winning team, which caused further movement and reshuffling.
44. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. If your Home isn't working as it should, or if the makeup of your team isn't right, then changes are likely needed.—Providing, of course, that your team isn't breaking up simply because you're encountering problems and aren't willing to work through them to victory, or as a result of your Home being poorly shepherded. In some cases, the dynamics of a Home's personnel simply aren't conducive to building a strong winning team, and change is needed. And that's what some Homes have likely been grappling with over the past year or two. But with only 13 months left before the offensive begins, Mama and I feel that each individual and Home team is going to need to get in serious prayer to either find the right Home, or start one, or bring in more personnel to fill out your Home, and work in earnest to stabilize your Home.
45. There is always going to be some movement in even the most stable of Homes; that's to be expected. Situations change, needs change, the Lord leads people to move on to other Homes or other countries for various reasons, and this will continue in the future. However, at the core of each Home there needs to be a number of people who are committed to that Home, to that city, to those sheep—people who feel compelled to win that city or surrounding area for Jesus and who see it as their commission and calling. If you have a core of Home members who are committed to the work of the Home, you'll be able to sustain some movement of personnel without it totally destabilizing the Home.
46. So find your field. Find your city. Find where the Lord wants you to build your work. Find your Home, or find those who are of like mind to start a new Home with, who feel called to win that city or that country for the Lord. Then commit to the job at hand and work with those who are determined to do the same.
47. One common thread of stable Homes that bear significant fruit is that they have been in their city for a long period of time. Some of the most successful have been ministering for years in the same city—cultivating their work, ministering to their converts and friends, and establishing their financial base. It takes time to build a work—it takes a long time. It takes commitment. It takes vision and sticking to it through the good times and the bad times to reach the goal of a fruitful missionary work.
48. If you're not in that kind of situation, if you haven't found the right team to work with, then the first and most important thing you need to do is to pray. Pray for the Lord's leading. Pray for Him to show you where you need to be. Pray for the right people to work with or the right Home to join. As a Home, pray for the right people to apply to your Home. Pray over each person who applies. Hear from the Lord and get His direction; confirm it through a number of channels. Be willing to follow what the Lord shows you, even if it seems like a risk.
49. Once you've done that, then you need to put feet to your prayers. Those of you who aren't in stable situations, or whose Homes aren't yet stable, make the necessary commitments to work together in unity with others, to commit to work your way through the problems, to do the humble thing and to be open to receive shepherding, to let go of your own plans and programs so that you can embrace the collective goals of your Home. You'll have to do these things if you hope to be part of a winning team Home that's ready for the offensive.
50. Quite honestly, it will take a miracle to get things stabilized within this year, but it's imperative that there be more stability within our Homes as the offensive starts. There are 13 months between now and then, so let's all pray desperately for the Lord to lead and guide. Our God is a God of miracles, and if we will all pray and claim these things together‚ then we can know that He will answer. He will supply larger housing. He will supply needed personnel. He will supply just the right winning team for each Family member. He will make a way. He will do the miracles. So let's all join together in prayer for these things‚ shall we?
51. If your Home is in the process of house hunting because your housing is too small for your team (which 25% of Homes commented was the case in the last Home review)‚ or your contract will soon expire, we suggest you put the following points on your prayer list when looking for housing.
Pray for housing that is…
* Big enough to comfortably accommodate all your Home members, with a little room for expansion. Think new disciples and rejoining young people.
* Conveniently located for witnessing. Think offensive.
* A good sample and presentable, so that you can bring potential labor leaders over. Think reaching the rich.
* Spacious enough for Home members to have adequate living quarters and some privacy; including quiet classrooms so your children can focus when they study. Think happiness of your Home members.
52. Another point a number of the RSs mentioned was that there seems to be quite a bit of change within the makeup of the Steering Councils. This is often because people within the Home are coming and going, but there are other reasons also. This obviously doesn't contribute toward stability or continuity in a Home. This is another factor your Home can look at when you evaluate your level of stability. Here are two comments on this topic:
"With Home members coming and going so often, when re–election time comes along, new Home members are being voted in as shepherds and managers. In some cases this creates instability in the Home, along with a 'start-stop' syndrome, hampering not only progress on the Home front, but also hindering the training process of our Home shepherds. The newly elected shepherds have to start the HSTP from zero‚ while the outgoing shepherds are no longer following the HSTP. However, the outgoing shepherd is sometimes re-elected at a later date, thus having to once again take up the HSTP. There isn't continuity in the training of Home shepherds, and the Home reflects this lack of consistent progress in their fruit. If the governing structure of the Home is unstable, that is reflected in the Home's progress or lack of it."
"Because of there being so much change in personnel, it's been difficult to find stability in the board structure and training, as well as in the Home shepherd training and overall Steering Council makeup in the Homes. Many Homes had to vote in new Steering Council members and sort of start all over in organizing their Home, which is a setback."
53. Additionally, many coaches have commented that it's been quite difficult to establish a bond with the Home shepherds they coach, because every three to six months, the Home shepherds change. So while your Home is free to elect new Steering Council members, or an entire new Steering Council at election time—and you should if things are not going well and you don't feel the Steering Council is doing a good job—please also bear in mind the long-term effect that such rapid turnovers within the Steering Council has on your Home. This might be playing a significant role in the instability of some Homes.
54. As a Home Council, you can also determine any transitional measures that would help significant changes within your Steering Council to be made more smoothly. For example, if a Steering Council member is moving to another Home and a new Steering Council member has been appointed to assume the outgoing member's duties‚ your Home Council might decide to have the outgoing Steering Council member remain on the Steering Council for a week or two after new elections have been held. Your Home Council might vote to allow the outgoing Steering Council member to continue attending the Steering Council meetings so that there aren't any balls dropped during the transition. Depending on the situation, something like this may or may not be necessary. The point is that as a Home Council‚ you have the authority to make a decision, like the preceding example, if your Home feels it will benefit your Home during a time of change within the Steering Council body.
55. You might be wondering exactly what the definition of stability is. Our Family Homes are bustling beehives of activity, and if the word "stability" brings to mind a picture of calm, peace, inactivity, slow-moving progress, or inertia‚ then you're probably feeling quite puzzled as to how your Home is ever going to achieve stability.
56. Before we go any further, I'd like you all to read part of an audio class I gave to the Home managers on the topic of stability, and how stability is meant to be manifested in Family Homes. Hopefully, this will help to give you a more realistic and doable definition of stability‚ and clarify what the Lord is asking us to shoot for. (This audio class, in full, is available on the MOv3 site, on the Home manager page, if you're interested in hearing the rest of it.)
57. Building stability means becoming a winning team Home that is able to "carry on a fruitful work and live the FD standard." This means that Home members know that they are where the Lord has called them to be. And they're committed to shticking for as long as it's the Lord's will, so that they can build a local work and implement the Activated winning and follow-up program.
58. The Home has a long-term commitment to the sheep, friends, contacts and supporters of the Home. They feel responsible to care for and minister to them, and this helps to give them the vision and inspiration to shtick. If the Home provides services to other Homes in the city or area, they feel responsible to provide the best service possible, and they work together to achieve their goals and objectives.
59. This doesn't mean that your Home's personnel will never change or that it shouldn't. There will be times when the Lord calls some of your Home members to a new field, and new personnel will join your Home. The idea is that at the center of your Home's winning team, there should be a number of people who are committed to the Home's goals and building a lasting work. So this aspect of stability shouldn't necessarily be equated with your Home's personnel never changing. It's more about your Home having clear goals and vision from the Lord for your work, and then having a core of Home members who are committed to carrying out that vision.
60. A stable winning team Home is obedient to the Word, and moving forward in fulfilling the board criteria, so that they are a strong, well-rounded testimony of modern–day, cutting edge discipleship, which the Lord blesses, and which attracts and inspires others. The Home is financially stable‚ as a result of following the Word and the counsel that the Lord has given them concerning their witnessing, follow-up, feeding their converts, and reaching the rich.
61. The Home runs smoothly because it's well managed and organized. The Home's managers seek the Lord for His foresight and vision for the Home's scheduling and organization. There's a place for everything, and there's a plan that's put into action. The Home shepherds are giving the Home members the spiritual shepherding they need. They also pray about the overall spiritual state of the Home, they identify what areas the Home is spiritually weak in, and they work together with the Home members to change and win victories in obedience to the Word.
62. Home members take responsibility and understand the importance of Home accountability. They learn to wield the spiritual weapons individually and as a team. They're willing to give and take, to work hard and to sacrifice, for the sake of their Home and teammates. The Home's members are happy and fulfilled in their service for the Lord. They get input‚ training, instruction, and the love they need. They feel needed, both personally and as a winning team player. The Home Council is prayerful in its decisions. They consider what the results of their decisions will be. And there are definite goals set for putting the decisions of the Home Council into effect.
63. The Steering Council fulfills its duties in a loving and spirit-led way. The Steering Council takes time to meet and to pray about the Home and its members' needs, as well as about where the Home is heading, and where the Lord wants it to go. They communicate and pray about this with the Home Council, so together they can make decisions that facilitate the Home's spiritual and practical growth and progress.
64. Stability doesn't necessarily mean that things will be easy or slow-moving. Stability doesn't mean inertia. With all that needs to be done in your service for the Lord, winning the lost, learning lessons, and keeping your Home running, the pace is going to be pretty active. And as Endtime events come more clearly into play, we can probably expect the pace to increase! But if your center is right—if your Home is established on the Lord and obedience to the Word, if things are well organized, and everyone in the Home is putting their shoulder to the boulder—then your Home will be stable. No matter how busy or varying the circumstances are, if you've got the constants of discipleship and a winning team Home in place‚ you'll have stability.
65. Clearly‚ there are many pieces that need to be in place for your Home to be stable. Stability is part of Home accountability, and everyone in the Home has a part to play.
—Excerpts from "Home Management: The Big Picture," Home Manager Training Program, MOv3
66. Another trend that showed up throughout each region is financial instability. This, of course, isn't new; it's a continuing battle that Homes fight everywhere. From the RSs' reports, it seems that a number of Homes have built stronger financial bases through their follow-up and building of their Active member flocks, while other Homes are in the process of doing so. At the same time‚ a large number of Homes haven't begun the transition to funding through follow-up, and continue to fund themselves through other short-term means.
67. I can understand that it must be very difficult to make the transition to building a local work with local members who support you—if not completely, at least making up the majority of your income, through tithes or regular gifts. Nonetheless‚ this is the way of the future. In one of the prophecies that we'll share with you later in this GN, the Lord said that financial stability will come about by following up and ministering to the sheep. He said:
As you and your Homes focus outwardly on witnessing and follow-up and shepherding your sheep, I will bless you financially and provide you with the supporters that you desperately need. The supporters will not come before the witness but afterwards. So the goal of financial stability goes hand in hand with the offensive itself.
68. The fact is that financial stability is a product of building a work. It's the result of faithfully feeding, teaching, ministering to and following up on those you have witnessed to, and all of these components are going to be major parts of the offensive. So sooner or later you are going to have to make the switch to this type of ministry. It seems wise to begin to work toward this now, even though it's not an easy transition to make.
69. Homes that have successfully made the transition explain that there is a difficult period at the start. You are ministering to friends and converts and they aren't yet supporting you‚ but they still take your time as you feed them, teach them, and bring them along. Eventually they do begin to support you‚ but that period before they start to do so can be a "dry" financial period. This stage can have a bit of a two steps forward, one step back feel to it. But as you hang in there, the blessings and rewards will come as a result of your obedience and faithfulness. And those that have made this transition successfully say that when they continued to minister to these folks even through the dry and difficult financial period, the Lord blessed them and came through for them, and now much, if not most, of their support comes through their follow-up ministries.
70. Building a stable financial base is part of Home stability. When you are stable financially, it allows you to plan ahead, to budget, to save, to progress. We believe that the key to financial stability is in building your local work, your follow-up ministry, and through cultivating Active members. This is the goal, this is what every Family Home needs to work toward. At the same time, though, we realize that with somewhere around 50% of our Homes being unstable or in a state of flux, and with so much movement of personnel going on, a large number of Homes will not find financial stability this year. We also realize that it takes time to achieve financial stability.
71. Presently, we have Homes in varying levels of stability, and each Home needs to identify where their Home stands in relation to the goal of overall stability, and map out a plan to get there. Homes that are fairly stable personnel–wise but don't have follow-up ministries should try to start building local works and ministering to your friends and converts, turning them into members and tithers. Those of you who are still building your teams or are in a state of flux should focus on getting your team together, working together, and uniting together so that you can become the winning team you need to be. You can't do everything at once; you need to first focus on building your winning team.
72. Whatever state your Home is in, remember that you need to be moving toward our goals. Those goals are: achieving stability, being a winning team, receiving training, building your local church of believers, General and Active members. It's in doing these things that you will, in time, find the financial stability you need to really expand as the Lord intends for you to. The Lord is telling us that it will be through witnessing, winning, and follow-up that financial stability will come.
73. It's encouraging to know that the offensive will bring financial stability because we will be doing the job that the Lord has called us to do. As we do the job—as we witness and win—He will bring in the finances needed.
74. The offensive doesn't start until next year, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't follow through on all that the Lord has already said about following up on your sheep. Keep that as one of your Home's goals. If you've started a fledgling follow-up ministry, continue to invest in it. Take the time and make the effort to feed, teach and train your converts. Bring them through the 12 Foundation Stones to Active membership and the Link magazine‚ then those who are most potential through 12 Bridges classes and to Missionary membership. Get your friends and contacts subscribed to Activated and get them started as General members, or Active members for those who are willing and able to go through the 12 Foundation Stones too. Teach them to tithe and to give to you.
75. If you haven't yet started your follow-up ministry, pray about beginning. Start by following up on the people you meet or who buy tools from you, those you witness to who have gotten saved. They are the ones the Lord has brought across your path. If you do your part to do the hard work of following up on them, then it puts you in a position to receive the Lord's blessings for obedience.
76. We don't know every detail of the offensive, but we do know that building your local work and establishing your local church of believers and of fellow witnesses is a major part of it. That is where the Lord is heading, and He means for the "expansion of our folds" to be a major part of our work of the future. Winning and training those who will help us to fulfill His plan of preaching the Gospel to every creature and making disciples of all nations is our commission!
77. This will be the major goal of the offensive—reaping disciples, labor leaders, and others who can join with us in our witness—because this will be the only way we can reach the world effectively. So no matter what state you or your Home are in today, you can consciously work toward the goals of the future.
78. With each Home working toward being a winning team, trying to pass Home reviews and struggling to become stable, a bit of an "every man to his own tent" trend has developed. This has resulted in Homes in a number of regions not being so open to helping other Homes, working together, or contributing to regional needs or activities. Of course‚ this isn't the case with every Home, by any means, but it was a recurring observation throughout the RS' analyses.
79. In thinking about this, Mama and I feel this trend is largely a result of the focus placed on Home accountability and passing the Home review during the past two years. It's understandable that each Home would be trying to pull their team together, ensuring that they have sufficient and the right personnel, and all the components needed to meet the criteria, pass Home reviews, and be a fruitful team, not to mention to continue to witness and follow up, raise needed funds, etc. The standard is high and it has required a lot of focus, hard work, and determination to implement the criteria in your Homes, and we understand this.
80. Nevertheless, Mama and I want to highlight this trend, because we know that no Home intends to become so centered on the needs of their own Home that they either pull back from helping the region or other Homes, or lose the beautiful One Wife vision and spirit. We believe that being aware of this trend will enable each Home to discuss and pray about this.
81. A number of regions commented that they are having difficulty staffing the board positions‚ and this directly impacts the progress that the boards can make. It's a sacrifice to allow one of your Home members to be on a board, but their participation benefits the overall region. That's just one specific example. You can brainstorm ways to reach out more to the Homes around you‚ to participate in city- or region-wide initiatives, to give a helping hand to Homes that are struggling more than you are, knowing that the Lord always blesses and rewards giving.
82. Please take the time to look at your Home, and ask the Lord how you're faring in this area. You can do this at the Home Council level, at the Steering Council level, and as individuals. We need strong unity at the Home level; we need camaraderie and brotherhood, a sense of belonging and responsibility to your team members. But we also need unity, brotherhood and camaraderie, and a "look-out-for-your-brother" attitude at the city level‚ at the regional level, at the worldwide level. All are vital.
83. It's like our individual Homes are units within an army. Each unit trains together, bonds together, and becomes a team. And it's important that they do because they need to work together‚ fight together, and win together. They have to completely depend on each other. They become a team that has to work well together in order to survive. It's vital that this unit has tight cohesiveness.
84. However, this unit is also part of a larger body, like a platoon is part of a company and a company is part of a battalion and a battalion is part of an army. Our Homes are similar. Each Home is its own entity. However, Homes often reside in the same city or metropolitan area as other Homes. Each Home is also part of a region.
85. The Lord has been showing us that in order to launch our offensive, and in order to be successful in building our church of active witnesses‚ our Homes, city councils, and the overall region are going to have to work together. Once we begin to win members on a larger scale, it will require a great deal of cooperation within the region and between Homes to be able to properly care for, teach, and train these members. Our vision will need to go beyond making our individual Homes successful. We'll need to focus on reaching the city in conjunction with the other Homes in the city. We'll need to focus on working together to win the whole country.
86. In short, this means we will need a great deal of unity. The name of the game will be working together. It won't be enough if one Home or one unit is successful—the whole army needs to be successful. So please bear this in mind as we move toward the offensive. Work now to build unity and camaraderie not just within your Home, but with the other Homes around you and within your region. Do what you can to help other Homes in any way you can if you are in a position to do so. If you have grudges or bad feelings against another Home, overcome them, because for your area to be successful you'll need to be working closely with them in the not too distant future.
87. Here's something the Lord had to say regarding this point:
88. (Jesus:) In order for the winning offensive to become all that it is destined to be, each of My brides will need to be marching together as one, hand in hand, arm in arm, and shoulder to shoulder. Each of My brides must purpose in their hearts that they will put the needs of their fellow brides above their own and take on the true weapon of brotherhood and apply it to their daily lives. This weapon of brotherhood must be applied not only within each Home, but between each Home, within each area and region as well as the body of My army. The burning desire to make the winning offensive the success that I have destined for it to be must be at the forefront of each of My brides' hearts and minds. It must become the all-consuming passion that motivates them to do whatever is necessary to see it through to fruition.
89. One of the necessary elements is strong, unbreakable unity, becoming one in heart, mind, body and spirit to the point that all things will truly be common and no one will call anything their own. That each one will see the needs of their brother or sister, their fellow soldiers, as being their own needs; that each Home will see the other Homes in their area as a part of and an extension of their Home; that each Home will see itself as a part of a united force within their region, and in so doing will know that they are a part of the army of My Family that I have created to move forward as one united force.
90. The winning offensive will not be successful if every man or Home is operating as an independent entity, focused only on their own needs. Your Home may be successful in many aspects of what a discipleship Home should be, and many of you are, but unless you are firmly connected to your platoon, your company, your battalion‚ and to the body of the army, you will detract from the overall strength of the army, and hence will weaken the overall offensive. Over time you will find yourselves becoming weaker as well, as you will be going it alone. You will not have the strengthening power that comes from the strong unity of being one with the body of the army. This must be avoided at all costs, My loves, for in the coming days you will need one another in a way that you have not experienced for a very long time.
91. You will need to work in unity in every aspect of your lives, in your witnessing and follow-up‚ in the sharing of personnel, resources, provisioning, contacts and friends. It will be each according to his ability, each according to his need. I am not only asking you to look outward to the fields that are ready to harvest, but I am also asking you to look outside the boundaries of your own tent, to the tents of others and helping to make sure that their tents are as safe, secure‚ and provided for as yours is.
92. It's the strength of the overall work, not just your Home, that is at the heart of the matter. Whatever sacrifices it takes to make your area a united winning team and strong front within the winning offensive will be more than worth it. You will see the fruits of your sacrifices in the Homes in your area being made stronger, happier, and bearing greater fruit, not to mention the increase of the harvest that I will then be able to send your way because of your obedience to Me and the heavenly vision.
93. The formula for making this strong unity and camaraderie a reality is found in the example of My Early Church—one of the most successful winning offensives in the history of My army. They obeyed in following through with the Great Commission that I gave them of going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to every creature, and they obeyed My Word that they should be one, even as My Father and I are one. They cared for one another, they loved one another. They had all things common, they supported one another in spirit and shared what they had, often to their own hurt‚ so that the strength of the overall work was preserved, and because of their obedience and unity they went on to win the world of their day.
94. This is the same commission that I have given you‚ My loves. If you will carry this commission out, as did My disciples of old, it will bring about the winning of the world of your day, and great will be your reward, both now and in the world to come! (End of message.)
95. (Peter:) The Lord made it clear in "Our Pre-Attack Plan" that each Home must put forth the effort to get trained. The majority of the training in 2006 came through the board handbooks and the GNs. There were GNs on subjects pertaining to various practical and spiritual topics—all vital for offensive preparation.
96. During 2006 the international boards worked on training programs designed to strengthen the Homes or individuals in the Homes. Most of these programs will be made available or implemented in 2007.
97. In "Our Pre-Attack Plan," I said the following about the goals for training during this time period:
You will need to make a commitment as a Home to put forth the effort to get trained. This means studying the training material. It means implementing it, experimenting with it, and making it a part of your everyday life. It's hard to study, it's hard to implement new ideas, and it's hard work to change and grow. But if we‚ as a Family, are going to be a success, then we are all going to have to work at it.
We have this time ahead of us for training. But unless we each apply ourselves to this training during this time, we won't be ready for the future; we'll miss the mark. This is where you‚ as a Home, must make the decision to study, to progress, to strive toward professionalism. This isn't just studying for the sake of getting smarter; it's studying so you can do the job, so that together we can launch a successful attack, so we can win! The only winning armies or winning athletes are those who train, who apply themselves and who work toward winning. And they train with a vision. They want to win and they know that all of the work of training brings them closer to winning. We need that same vision and determination. (ML #3600:60,61, GN 1177).
98. The training programs the international boards are preparing are topnotch programs‚ and if those they are designed for go through them, they will be stronger. That means your Home will be stronger and the overall Family will be stronger‚ as a result. However‚ to make these training programs effective will require time‚ effort, energy, sacrifice, and, in some cases, finances.
99. It's not enough that the training programs are excellent and are available. Training programs must be implemented, people have to take them. They have to participate either through personal study and application or through attending seminars or programs that are held outside the Home, or both. A number of the programs that are coming through the production line are in-house programs, meaning that certain members of the Home will be expected to read and study the material, within the Home, to receive the needed training for their ministry.
100. An example of this is the Home Manager Training Program. Completing this course entails listening to audio files, studying practical tips and how-tos on a variety of topics, reading corresponding Word comps, etc. It's going to mean that your Home managers actually need to make time to go through the course. That means some of their time on a weekly basis will need to be allotted for this training. That's going to be a sacrifice for them and it will be a sacrifice for the Home, because some of their time which was previously used for other things will now need to go toward taking the course. It might mean that someone else will have to cover for some of their work during that time. It might mean that they can't attend one devotions slot each week as they will be studying the related Word compilations or listening to some of the audio files. It might mean they'll need to take an evening that they would otherwise have available as free time to devote to the study of this material. It will require Home managers to make the best use of their time, so that they can get the training, with as little strain being put on the Home as possible.
101. What I'm saying is that in order for the Home managers to get better at their job, they will need to take the training course, and that means an investment of time and energy. Some people might feel that the managers can't afford the time, or that the Home can't make it possible for the managers to take the course, and thus they won't go through the program. Of course, that's both short-sighted and counterproductive.
102. In order for a Home to function properly, it needs topnotch management. If the managers go through the training course, they are more apt to do a better job, meaning the Home will be managed better. Thus it benefits the Home and helps move it toward becoming a winning team. So even though there's an investment for a period of time, that investment will bear good fruit. It's important that as a Home you understand this principle—that sometimes you need to make short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term gains.
103. Throughout this year there are going to be a number of situations which you will face, when it comes to training, that will require sacrifice of some sort.—Whether it's giving people time to work through in-house training courses, or in other cases allowing and facilitating some of your Home members to attend training programs outside the Home and raising the needed finances to do so.
104. What you have to bear in mind is the goal, the vision, the end result. Whenever you're faced with the choice of whether to make an investment or not, you don't just look at the investment itself and what making that investment will cost you. You look at the dividends that you will reap as a result of making the investment. That's what you will have to do now as well. Don't be short–sighted. Be far–sighted! Look toward the offensive. Look toward the needs of your Home in the future. Look at the training programs and your Home's personnel, and see the great benefits your Home will reap as your Home members receive training and become more skilled team players.
105. As a PS to the preceding mention about Homes allotting time for Home members to study and work through training programs, there is, of course, a balance. The individual going through the program has to invest personal effort; the responsibility for an individual "getting trained" does not fall solely to the Home. However‚ the purpose for the training isn't just to benefit the individual; it's to benefit the entire Home. So as a Home, you should try to make some time available for people to work through the training programs, if at all possible. But with all that goes on in a busy Family Home, it's unlikely that the Home will be able to supply enough time, or even all that much time, toward study. So as an individual, you will have to take initiative. If there's a training program that targets you‚ realize that not only will this training benefit you personally, but it will benefit your Home. Don't adopt the attitude of, "Well, I can't get the training because the Home won't schedule time for me to study."
106. We're trying to be professional here, and true professionals get the job done. They look at the job, not the hours. They work by goals and projects, not by clocking the time. If you hope to excel in something, you have to study. You have to work for it. You have to put in the hours. You have to sacrifice. Study at night. Study in your free time. Fit in some study on your day off. That's the way professionals do it. And that's the way you'll have to do it if you hope to be prepared in time for the offensive.
107. In looking at the array of training programs scheduled to reach the Homes this year, a number of the RSs and IBCs had questions as to whether the Homes would realistically be able to partake of all the programs. They were concerned that these training programs might only add to the present instability of many Homes, because in some cases‚ it will mean people being out of the Homes for a period of time. Additionally, the programs would need to be scheduled pretty tightly throughout 2007 in order to fit them all in before the beginning of the offensive (also taking into consideration the fact that the Christmas witnessing season and other blocks of time aren't convenient for hosting such programs). This‚ of course, could create hardship within the Home, and potentially add to the instability of the Homes right when they're all trying to build stability.
108. Some questioned whether the offensive should be postponed for a period of time in order to allow more time for you to work through these training programs. Mama and I felt these were very legitimate questions‚ and we were glad they were asked.
109. First‚ we held a number of meetings to look at all the facts. We listed all of the major worldwide training programs scheduled for 2007. We noted how much time each training program required, and how many people it would potentially affect. We looked at how many of the training programs would be in-house programs and how many required attending meetings or camps outside the Home. We looked at the possibility of postponing the offensive for six or more months, even up to a year.
110. We were very desperate with the Lord to show us what to do. After exhausting all possibilities through discussion and counsel, we brought the matter to the Lord and asked Him what His outlook was on the situation and how He wanted us to proceed. We had a number of channels, Mama and me included, hear from our Commander in Chief about these issues. Thankfully He spoke, as He always does, and made it clear how we were to look at it.
111. Here are excerpts of the messages He gave:
112. (Jesus:) The future lies before you, as a bright page ready to be written upon. I have given much instruction as to where the Family needs to go and how to get there in order to achieve the commission I have given you. This commission is to reach out to all the world, to expand, to pull many others up upon the Rock that they may be saved, prepared and trained for the dark days that are so close at hand.
113. I have provided many tools and I have led you up the path of change. I have placed the keys of change and the keys for your future in your hands. As you unlock one door at a time, you find the path grows brighter and clearer and you become more and more excited as the future unfolds one step at a time.
114. I have not chosen to show you the details of the future all in one shot. Each step must be taken, each decision made, each sacrifice and each forsaking undertaken in order to unlock the next door and then proceed up the path toward the next door, that will lead you yet further up the mountain of your future and all that I have promised will be yours.
115. Ahead lies a period of great fruitfulness, miracles, progress, and most important of all, the miracles of lives transformed and brought into the fold. As you pass through each door of the strengthening and preparation of the Family for the offensive‚ one step at a time‚ the path wends ever upward, the sun shines brighter, the air is fresher and cooler, and your hearts are strengthened and invigorated, ready to take on more, prepared to meet the challenges and to step into your destiny.
116. The path that I am leading you on is not the most direct route to the top of the mountain. It wends this way and that way, but always ever upward, yet you might be tempted to wonder if there is a shortcut. You think that perhaps if you get off this path and take one of the many side paths that you see that seem to lead more quickly to the top of the mountain, you will get there more quickly and thus bear more fruit. The shortcut is a much more direct path‚ and would get you there much quicker, but you would arrive at the top tired, breathless, and without having strengthened your lungs and gotten used to the mountain air. So instead of reaching your destination more quickly, you'd be nursing tired lungs, suffering from the altitude, and having to catch your breath for a time and adapt to the mountain peak. What seemed a shortcut would actually only result in a loss of time and a temporary weakening.
117. The more winding path I have chosen is one in which each stone has been laid along the way for your benefit. Each stone represents new training—a new lesson, a new strength, a new spirit helper to guide you, a new key to empower you. Your path is not simply a physical uphill surge, but it is a spiritual journey in which you discover more and more truth. On this journey you are strengthened in your inner person and you learn to do battle with the weaponry you have taken on, for you fight battles as you go, you meet foes and claim the territory along the way. Once you defeat those foes, you are able to pull out the key ring of your future and unlock the next door‚ where you ascend to a higher level on the journey upward. Sometimes you even have to stop and rest altogether and it may not look like you are forging ahead, but actually you are being led by the cool, still waters of My Spirit, imbibing My Word‚ communing quietly with Me and receiving the strength to move to the next level.
118. When you finally wield the key needed to unlock the last door of this journey, to where you are at the top and you can look around you and see the entire panorama laid out before you, the worlds to be conquered, the souls to be reached, the territory to be claimed for My Kingdom, you are enthralled, invigorated, and you pull out your weapons with both hands, ready to go forth and conquer the land for Me. There is no waiting period, no time required to go back and learn how to use the weapons, no time needed to stop and become acclimatized, for you have been strengthened one step at a time, one level at a time‚ until you are fully armed and ready to do battle, eager and geared up to go forth and conquer the promised land.
119. I want you to look at each of these steps I have led you along as a part of this process. You are not treading water or walking on a flat road when you undertake training programs in the last year before beginning the offensive. Rather, you are marching upward on the path of My perfect will toward your future and the promised land I have for you. I don't want you to settle for anything less than My best, even if the path seems to wend around the mountain a bit and seems to take longer than a straight uphill climb.
120. The strengthening of the Family is not a one-take uphill climb, but rather I lead you to wend around the mountain, ever higher, for I know that this is the way that you will each be prepared, strengthened and graduate into the future one step at a time. Only the stoutest and the hardiest would make it in a straight uphill climb, and even those would be fatigued and worn out when they reached the top. Your uphill exodus into the future includes men, women, children‚ teens, and youth. Some you will have to help up the mountains, others will sprint ahead and make faster time. The goal is for the entire Family to make the exodus to this promised land of the future, fully armed and prepared to do battle, and in order to do that, you must consider the special needs of your mountain climbers, and strengthen and train them to take their special place in the offensive, particularly the younger who are the future of your battle force.
121. Each program of the international boards for this year is ordained by Me. Each will fit hand in glove with the vision of strengthening the Homes, and getting battle–ready to go forth and conquer and achieve your future. I do not wish for you to arrive at the door of the future a battered‚ weary army, having lost some of the younger or more frail ones along the way because of the path you took, but rather to arrive as an empowered, envisioned and strong army that will walk through the last door with the key of appropriating faith and come forth with weapons in hand to conquer the promised land of your future. And each of these programs is designed to do just that—to envision, strengthen and embolden, to place stronger weapons in the hands of your soldiers‚ and particularly in the hands of your youth so that they may step into their unique role in this future.
122. I know that these programs will take a toll on your Homes, with personnel being absent to receive specialized training, and especially your young adults, who are such an important and integral part of your winning teams. But I ask you to look at this training through the eyes of the future, knowing that preparing your youth for the day of battle will only make your Home units and the overall army stronger and ready for conquest.
123. Ask Me to open your eyes through the keys of anointing‚ which hold vision and insight into the future, and I will show you the mighty army that will come forth through this next year, made up of the younger and the older, children and youth, standing shoulder to shoulder, armed to the teeth with My spiritual weapons and ready to wallop the Enemy and claim the souls of men for Me and My Kingdom! (End of message.)
124. (Jesus: ) Earlier this year [in "Our Pre-Attack Plan"] I gave a clear sound of the trumpet that the time spent between then and the offensive should be a time of training for the Family, in order to strengthen you and to prepare you for the offensive. It is also meant to be a time of Homes growing stronger, more united‚ more settled, so that you can turn your primary focus to reaping the harvest rather than building your house.
125. I confirm that both of these focuses are still My priority for you, and I am not changing the direction that I previously gave. Targeted and focused training will yield the maximum results and prepare you for the offensive. Likewise, Homes building winning teams is vital‚ because without stability, Homes won't be able to focus outward but will continue to need to focus inward—which would delay and render the offensive ineffective.
126. Trying to accomplish both of these goals within the same year seems almost impossible, and in the flesh it is impossible. But through the power of the keys‚ nothing is impossible to Me! I can work the miracles that will make it possible for Homes to both be strengthened internally while at the same time participating in the training provided by the international boards.
127. In order to bring these miracles about, you must all pray. It is through your prayers that these things can happen. There are many factors that could hinder the Homes' ability to be stable while at the same time participating in these training programs. One of the main obstacles is lack of finances. I am able to supply, but you and your Homes must pray down the finances, and those who are stable financially must pray down the finances for those who are in need. Those who have an abundance must help their brothers and sisters, and everyone must pull together as much as they are able. Of course, it's understandable that each Home's primary concern would be getting their own Home stable, and unless they are on solid ground, it's difficult to pull up their brethren. But those who are on solid ground should look for ways to assist those who are not so that all can participate in these training programs.
128. I am compelled to emphasize the importance of prayer‚ and the importance of catching the vision for these training programs. You must not view these training programs as just another plan or program that comes and goes. You need to grasp what a critical element these training programs will play in your preparation for the offensive. You need to get inspired about them and realize the positive impact that they're going to have on the entire Family. These training programs will play a key role in your being ready to launch an effective offensive.
129. When it comes to Home financial stability, this is something that will not realistically be achieved this year. In part‚ this is because the witnessing offensive in itself is the answer to financial instability in many Homes. As you and your Homes focus outwardly on witnessing and follow-up and shepherding your sheep, I will bless you financially and provide you with the supporters that you desperately need. The supporters will not come before the witness but afterwards. So the goal of financial stability goes hand in hand with the offensive itself. Nevertheless, you should do what you can now to become more financially stable, in this period leading up to the offensive.
130. However, the goals of stability of personnel and stability of governance are of extreme importance and should be the primary focus of 2007, while at the same time moving forward with the international training programs. Stability of personnel translates into Family members finding their winning teams and there being less overall movement throughout the Family. Stability of governance translates into solid Steering Councils that are shepherding and managing their Homes properly, and thus facilitating Family Homes reaching the world and fulfilling the Great Commission effectively.
131. These three goals are what the Family must focus on in 2007:
1) Stability of personnel;
2) Stability of Home governance;
3) Moving forward with the international training programs. (End of message.)
132. (General Douglas MacArthur: ) In war, there is never a perfect time to launch an offensive; there is only the right time. The great generals and commanders of the world have been men who could spot the "right" time and who, at that moment, led their troops into all-out battle. Whether their troops were as ready as they could be wasn't their greatest concern. Troops can always stand more preparation. If your goal is to win, to conquer, and to set your enemy back, then what you're looking for is the opportune moment to attack. If the generals and commanders of armies in wars past had waited for the ideal time to launch their offensives, I can assure you that the history of the world would be vastly different than it is today.
133. Do you think that the troops that I commanded were always ready to fight? They weren't. Some were, but some weren't. Some I had my doubts about. Yet we fought, we persevered, and we conquered in the end. I couldn't afford to hold up the entire offensive because every single soldier, unit, or outpost wasn't in tiptop condition. When the right moment came and I knew we had to move immediately in order to launch and win, there was no choice to be made. Any general with half a mind would act and do so immediately. We launched. We won. Yes, it came at a price and victory wasn't immediate, but we achieved our goal. We pushed the enemy back and overcame him.
134. Your Commander in Chief has told you when that deciding moment will be. He's set the offensive launch date. He's given you sufficient time to prepare‚ and you had better prepare like your life depends on it. Your victory depends on it. Reaching your ultimate goals depend on it. The overthrow of your enemy depends on it. So buckle down and get ready. To procrastinate and to delay your offensive launch would be giving the upper hand to your enemy.
135. Ready or not, you're going to be on the battlefield on schedule because that is the time to launch your offensive. That is the best time ever, and you will have the greatest advantage ever. And you will barrel forward and push the Enemy back. You will seize the spoils of war—the souls and lives of men—and you will realize that you love the fight, you love battle, you love attacking. Why? Because fighting, battling, and attacking is the only way victory is ever achieved. (End of message.)
136. (Jesus:) The Family needs training and they need to prepare, but preparation can't last forever; they eventually need to put their training into effect by launching a strong, united attack. In all of your planning and looking ahead, you need to factor in the "God factor." You need to factor in that I am going to work. I am going to bring about the needed miracles. Give the Family the vision to pray. Give the vision to prepare. Give the vision that the fight is going to begin in earnest and that they need to be ready. But ready or not, the offensive is coming!
137. The offensive is like a train; there's a certain time it will pull into the station‚ and then it will leave. It will carry those on board to the location that I have chosen. You don't want to miss that train. If you do, there will be another behind it, but it will be much later and you will have missed the right timing, the open doors, and all that I have planned. So be there. Be on the platform, ready to get on the train of My will. Even if you don't have all your clothes packed, even if you just get there at the last minute, get on the train! This train will carry you to new places‚ new ways, new heights. It's the express train to My highest will.
138. Get prepared for that journey now. Do all the things you need to do in this year ahead. Get the training, work hard in your spiritual life, draw close to Me, hone your use of the spiritual weapons. When that train arrives in the station, be there.—Ready, packed, stable, and anticipating the wonderful journey that awaits you. Don't miss the train of My will, the train of offensive war, the fulfillment train‚ the train of victory. (End of message.)
139. (Peter:) Through these prophecies the Lord has shown us the importance of the training He has in store for us this year. He's made it clear that we need to put forth the effort to partake of the training if we plan to make our way up the mountain on His pathway and on His schedule. If we try to take any shortcuts, bypassing this necessary preparation‚ we'll get to the offensive exhausted and short of breath.
140. As General MacArthur said, it's important to attack at the right time. The Lord made it quite clear that He has a timetable that we need to work within‚ and He's promised that if we do our part we will be ready. His train is coming to the station at a certain time. It will stop at that station long enough for us to get on board, and then it will leave to the destination of victory. The Lord expects us to be there at the station on time, bags packed and ready to go—and we need to work toward making that happen. However, if we aren't fully ready, if our bags aren't packed, then we still need to get on the train if we want to be most effective, if we want to be in place to walk through His open doors. He's basically saying‚ no matter what, don't miss that train!
141. Now we've all read the answers the Lord gave when we asked if the training programs were going to be too much for the Family, and if we should postpone the offensive in order to allow more time for training. His counsel makes it quite clear that we have these 13 months to invest the majority of our focus toward receiving this training, to being strengthened, to becoming stable, and then He intends for the offensive to begin.
142. Since He's now presented us with His plan and His timetable, we need to find the way to achieve the pre-offensive goals of stabilizing our Homes and partaking of the training. I believe there are a few components that are needed to accomplish what's ahead of us this year.
143. * First, we need to understand that the training is important. Even if it's difficult to make time for the training, and even if it means sacrificing by letting some members of your Home attend the various programs, it's worth it, because in the long run it will strengthen your Home, even if during this year it seems to stretch you to the limit.
144. * Second, the only way the training is going to happen is if everyone in your Home commits to investing the needed time in it. This means your Home Council should get together to discuss and pray, and consciously make a decision that you will make receiving and applying this training a priority this year. Then, as the year progresses, as members of your Home are going through the training courses and it's resulting in some difficulty for the Home, that you stay committed, through thick and thin‚ keeping the vision of the importance of the training and remembering that in the long run it will strengthen your Home.
145. * Third, everyone needs to understand that in February 2008 the offensive is going to begin. That's when the train will pull into the station, and whether we're ready or not, we need to get on that train and move on to the new destination the Lord has for us all. Mama and I anticipate that at that time many of our priorities as a Family will need to change—as we move from an inward focus to an outward focus—and it won't be easy to go back and catch up on the training that was missed. It's important that everyone has the vision that this is the year the Lord has earmarked for receiving concentrated training, and therefore commits to taking in the training. This is the year the Lord has given us to make our final pre-offensive preparations, and as a Family we need to decide together that we are going to invest our time, energy and resources into being trained this year so that we'll be ready to go on the attack in 2008.
146. If every Home can bring these components together—if you can understand that the training is important, if you can devote the time and sacrifice to receiving the training and stick with it throughout the year, and if you understand that there is a definite timetable for the offensive—then there is a good chance that you'll be ready to board the train of the offensive when it arrives.
147. Mama and I believe it can be done! We are going to be working day in and day out to do our part. WS is gearing up to do its part. The RSs and IBs are working hard to reach their goals. And we know that you, too, will do all you can to work toward these goals each day of the next 13 months. We're all in it together!
148. Let's put some skin on this by looking at the lineup of training programs for 2007. These programs are divided into two categories: "in–house programs" and "outside the Home" programs. In-house programs do not require personnel to leave your Home; all the training material is available via website or printed publications. "Outside the Home" programs are the ones that require personnel to attend a meeting‚ seminar, camp, or extended program‚ outside of your Home. These "outside the Home" training programs are generally the ones that have a greater impact on your Home because, besides personnel being gone (and others needing to fill in for them in the Home and outreach), they also require finances for travel, possible attendance fees, etc.
149. First we'll look at the in-house training programs:
* In-House Training Programs
* Home Manager Training Program. This audio and text-based program will be available on the Home manager page of the MOv3 at: http://www.familymembers.com/hm/. This program will be available to everyone in the Family, not just the managers. It is required, however, that managers work through the mandatory elements of this program at a steady pace until they complete it. (Approximate time to complete the program is not yet determined, as the program is still in production. Some of this study time would count toward quality Word time, such as reading the Word compilations and other designated classes, for example.)
* Home Shepherd Training Program. While this program has been available to the Home shepherds for nearly two years, I'm including it on this list as many Homes have new shepherds who need to take the course, while other Home shepherds haven't had the time to complete it. It is vital, and in fact required, that your Home shepherds work through this program, do the required P&Ps, and communicate with their coach as per the instructions of the course. Good shepherding is crucial to building a winning team Home, and this course will greatly help to strengthen the shepherding of your Home. (Approximate time to complete the program: 1 year is the suggested time frame; requires 3 hours per week, or an average of 12 hours per month. Some of this study time would count toward quality Word time, such as reading the Letter Links, for example.)
* Homeschooling through High School. Classes and workshops for parents and teachers on the subject of homeschooling during the high school years, prepared by the international FED board. The classes cover topics such as preparing for high school, what is covered in high school, record keeping, tips for teaching teens‚ and other topics pertaining to giving our teens a well-rounded‚ interesting, and fun high school education in a home school environment. The idea is to form local support networks. Classes and workshops may be studied in-house, or conducted in small groups within a city or country, if the region feels that would be more effective. (Approximate time to complete the program: 4 days.)
* Home Spokesperson Training Program. This is a course created by the international PR board, recently completed and available on the PR page of MOv3 [http://www.familymembers.com/pr/prc/board.pr.prc.2]. The program provides training for the Homes' spokespersons to fulfill their role in representing their Homes to the general public, local media, authorities and other officials, and any who inquire about the Home's local work and affiliation to the Family. This course is available for anyone to take (16 and up), and also doubles as a credit course for students of the Family's vocational program. (Approximate time to complete the program: 10 months is the suggested time frame, at the rate of 6 hours per month.)
* Official Family Spokesperson Training Program. The international PR board is creating a training program for national and regional Family spokespersons. This course will take approximately six months to complete, and will be followed by video seminars. This program will only be available to people appointed by their Regional Council to represent the Family in their region‚ and will include training on handling national/international media, dealing with legal and court battles, building a proactive public relations work, and more. (Approximate time to complete the program: 6 months in–house; with a 1-week video seminar outside the Home.)
(Note: Although this program involves a one-week video seminar outside the Home, since the majority of the course is an online course and it will affect very few people per region‚ we're listing it in the in-house program section.)
* Regional Council Training Program. This program will help to train Regional Council members in their regional leadership duties, including the responsibilities of the RBC position. This training program will be ongoing via materials posted on an RC website. As part of their training, all RC members (other than RSs) will attend the Academy International (explained below). (Regional Council training will be ongoing, given via a website.)
* Outside-the-Home Training Programs
* Family Disciple Training Program (FDTP). This is a program designed by the international JT board to prepare our 17-year-old senior teens for full discipleship. As you know, when teens become YAs at age 18‚ they are expected to sign the discipleship contract. The FDTP was created to help the 17-year-olds be ready for signing the contract and taking their place as professional disciples within the Family. The program lasts for approximately one month, outside of the Home. Each region or area will hold such a camp for the 17-year-olds to attend. There are some requirements for the 17-year–olds to meet in order to qualify for attendance. See FSM 423 for criteria for application. (Program length: approximately 3-4 weeks.)
* The XD (Xtreme Disciple). This is a training program for YAs created by the CS board. It is divided into two parts. The first part is a four-month, in-house, online course. YAs participating in the XD will have numerous assignments to read and complete during a specific four-month period (during personal Word and free time). The XD website is due to be launched early in the second quarter of 2007. The second part of the program is a meeting that will last for three weeks (give or take a few days) when the YAs will be together for further training. This will be held regionally, outside of the Home. Each region will decide when they will host the XD united meeting (after the online part of the program has run its course). Only those YAs who complete the four-month online course will be eligible to attend the united training program. More details on the XD will come soon, as some points related to this program are still being prayed about. (Program length: online course spanning 4 months in–house‚ then 3 weeks outside the Home.)
* Professional and Empowered Parenting Seminar. This is a training seminar for parents to reassess important aspects of their parenting and shepherding skills. It will cover such child-rearing topics as communication, training and discipline, and the role of a parent‚ offering practical application to help build and maintain an effective relationship with your children. The Professional and Empowered Parenting program will initially be launched in a 3- to 5-day seminar. The training program, created by the international CP board, will be made available to the whole Family via the MOv3 site once the program is underway. (Program length: 3-5 days.)
* Academy International (AI). As you know, this is a leadership course, originally designed for RSs (see ML #3601:100-112, GN 1178). The Lord has confirmed to Mama and me that all Regional Council members should partake of this training, as they will benefit from it in their regional leadership responsibilities. Some other individuals may also attend, at the RS' discretion. This course is a two- or three–week program, held outside of the Home. (Approximate program length: 2-3 weeks; it can also be spread out over a period of months, to be determined by the region.)
150. While not an official training program, learning the local language is an important part of training and preparing for the offensive. If you're going to be able to effectively witness and win outside members and disciples, you have to speak their language. Learning a language takes time, so start now! If you wait to begin until the offensive starts‚ you'll have lost valuable time.
151. Set aside time in your Home's schedule which your Home members can devote to learning the language. Of course, those whose main ministry is witnessing have the greatest need, but everyone in the Home should be learning at least some, in order to do their part to witness and become one with those you are reaching.
152. Granted, not everyone has the gift of language–learning, but at least a few people in each Home should be able to converse proficiently and communicate deeply, and everyone should put effort into learning so that you can understand and make yourself understood to your sheep and those you're following up on.—Especially you young people, for whom learning a language is naturally easier than for those who are older. Speaking the local language among yourselves in the Home is also a good way to make it easier for Home members to learn the language or to improve in their proficiency.
153. If you don't speak English, and are dependent on translations in order to study the Word or Family publications, we suggest you make an effort to learn English.
154. As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of training coming your way, and it won't be possible for our few translators worldwide to translate all this material, in addition to keeping up with the GNs and GP translations.
155. Each region will look at the feasibility of translating these training programs, but realistically, translations will not be immediate, and in some cases, may never materialize. So we'd like to put in a plug for you to do your part to avail yourselves of this material—and much more that isn't able to be translated—by learning English.
156. Those are the training programs created by the international boards and WS that are scheduled for 2007. Of course, there may be other activities‚ meetings, and training opportunities that are regionally or nationally generated. These may include Active member retreats, AIP (Activated Incentive Program) celebrations, regional seminars, etc. We've asked the Regional Councils to prayerfully assess their regional programs and events for this year and to consider cutting back on all but those which are absolutely necessary, due to the number of training programs that are already on the schedule. We recommend that the national boards also prayerfully consider their events or initiatives, particularly any major ones, in light of this already substantial lineup of international training programs.
157. There are ten major training programs listed here. That's a lot, but you have to bear in mind that each training program is targeted to a specific audience. In fact, not one of these programs will be tagged as "required" for all Family members to go through or study. The reason for this is that most are specialized programs, either directed to a specific age group (such as the program for the YAs) or to a group of people with a very specific ministry (such as the Family Spokesperson Training Program).
158. This should spread out the study load and provide most everyone with some training material relevant to their ministry‚ while not requiring everyone in the Family to have such a long list of programs and courses to work through. Some of the programs will be made available online or on paper for anyone to study, while other programs will be hosted by the respective board, or provided directly to those who are involved in that ministry or line of work.
159. If your ministry is such that none of these training programs seem to fit your particular line of work, or you notice that others in your Home are going through a couple of the courses (if they're a parent and a Home shepherd, for example)‚ please don't compare or feel bad. The GNs are the spiritual training program for every disciple, and there will be plenty of GNs coming your way this year! And‚ Lord willing, at the start of 2008 the CGO board will be rolling out their training programs, designed for all witnesses worldwide!
Some of these programs are for FD, some for FD/MM, and others for FD/MM/FM. These details will be announced on a regional basis, as there are many factors that differ from region to region.
160. As an additional point regarding the in-house training programs being provided‚ they won't be very useful to your Home if you're not in the habit of accessing the MOv3 site, or aren't able to download the programs due to Internet limitations.
161. Here's a comment sent in by a PR RBC that highlights this key point:
Some Homes have never even accessed the PR section on the MOv3 site, if they even knew it was there! We had printed a set of the PR course for each of the PR board members‚ and people were so impressed. Some were vaguely aware of the PR course, but none really knew much about it, and as they were flipping through the pages they were getting all excited about it. It was not that people were not interested before—on the contrary‚ they were very hungry for input. We discovered that one simple reason for this lack is that many Homes didn't have a good broadband [or Internet] connection, or computer setup, and/or messages don't get passed on.
162. It's important that your Home is aware of the in-house board training programs available. It's equally important that your Home has a computer and Internet setup that is capable of accessing or downloading study programs, so that the members of your Home can more readily partake of the training. This is vital to the training programs taking off in your Home. If your current computer and Internet setup isn't sufficient for availing yourselves fully of the online board training programs, this might be a good time to ask the Lord for His miracles of provision. (If you're not able to acquire a good enough Internet connection for downloading the training programs, please contact your RBC to see if there's another way you can receive the material.)
163. Let's all pray for the Lord's supply of good computer and Internet setups for each of our Homes.
164. Some of you might be wondering about the CGO board and their training programs‚ considering that we're all preparing for the upcoming offensive. The CGO board is presently working on witnessing, winning, and follow-up programs, and will continue to do so throughout the year. In 2008 they will present this training to the Homes as part of the beginning of the offensive. This way, you can focus on strengthening your Homes and individual members throughout 2007. Then, as the offensive begins, there will be training programs geared to outreach, winning and caring for live-in disciples and General and Active members.
165. The programs that raised the greatest concern were those in which Home members are going to be away from their Home for extended periods of time, specifically the FDTP for the 17-year-olds, which lasts for up to one month, and the XD for the YAs, which is a three-week program. The Professional and Empowered Parenting Seminar (CP board) only lasts 3-5 days, and the AI will not involve that many attendees per region. And the other programs are primarily in-house programs that don't pull as much on the Homes.
166. The XD and FDTP brought up questions about how the Homes with YAs and 17–year-olds are going to manage when these young people are out of the Home for an extended period. Some suggested shortening the courses, others suggested adjusting them so they could be done on the Home level. Certainly the boards and the RSs are aware that asking Homes to send some of their young people to a program for a month or three weeks is going to cause some difficulty.
167. In discussing and praying about both of these programs, it became increasingly clear that it's important for these programs to move forward, especially during this year of concentrated training. When you weigh these programs against the immediate needs of the Homes, then it could certainly cause some hardship. It will mean that a portion of the Home's workforce is going to be gone for a significant period of time. It will mean that the work that these senior teens and YAs do will have to be done by others, or it won't get done during those weeks. It might mean that the Home has less finances during those periods. Time will need to be devoted to raising funds for the 17-year-olds to attend the FDTP, and for the YAs to attend the XD. When looking at it in that light, it might not seem so worth it, as it brings hardship to the Homes when we're trying to strengthen the Homes.
168. However, if you look at these programs in light of the needs of the young people, their future potential and the upcoming offensive, the picture is very different. First‚ one of the main goals of the offensive is going to be winning disciples. It's our hope that many of those new disciples will be young people, students and the like. And our young people are going to play an important part in witnessing to them and winning them—not to mention being strengthened themselves as they do so. By investing in our YAs now, we're in essence training and strengthening a major force of witnesses and winners of the offensive.
169. Similarly, if the FDTP helps a 17-year-old to commit to the Family, to be a sold-out disciple and to find their calling within the Family—that's disciple winning. The FDTP will win disciples, there's no question about it. It already has‚ and you can read about it in FSM 423. And these disciples will‚ in the future, win other young people to the Family. So is it worth it to send your senior teens off for a month to bring them to full discipleship? Absolutely! Couldn't we have a program that could be done in the Home? We probably could‚ but we don't believe it would be nearly as effective or achieve the same goals.
170. There's just something to be said for getting young people together with other young people, in a spiritual environment, where they are all making commitments together. Going through this program in a group setting will enable our 17-year–olds to benefit from the important dynamics that come into play when they are with their peers in a spiritual setting. It will help them to feel that they are part of a life-changing movement and an up and coming force within the Family. I've had many conversations with older young people who have told me that going to such a camp or extended get-together in the past was a turning point in their life, and one of the major factors in their making a commitment to discipleship. (If you want to catch the vision for the FDTP, read FSM 423. Also, take a look at the FDTP promo video at http://familymembers.com/jt/jtnotices/board.jt.note.3.)
171. Our Family-born 17- to 20-year-olds are in the midst of their decision-making stage. Unfortunately‚ many of those who leave the Family are within this age bracket. Programs such as the FDTP and the XD are designed for the 17- to 20–year-olds. A lot of time, prayer, hard work, and investment has gone into creating these programs to meet their needs and to challenge them to discipleship. Isn't it worth it to invest in this age group? To help them in their discipleship and commitment to the Family? Don't they deserve this time away from the Home in order to focus on their spiritual lives and discipleship training, in order to get stronger and more connected to the Lord and the Family?
172. Mama and I feel that pouring into our senior teens and YAs is one of the most important investments we can make in the future. We understand that it will be hard on many Homes to let them attend these programs, but we ask you to please remember that this is one of those short-term sacrifices, part of following the path that wends up the mountain, which will bring forth long-term fruit—the fruit of discipleship, of closeness to the Lord‚ of on-fire, trained disciple winners. It's a worthy investment, no matter what the cost.
173. Your RSs and Regional Councils will be praying about how to organize these events so that it's as easy on the Homes as possible to let their young people attend. WS will see what it can do on the financial front to offer some assistance at the regional level, even though WS finances are suffering at the moment. Finances permitting‚ WS would like to chip in toward the overall cost of these events‚ in order to bring down the amount the Homes would have to pay. Our prayer is that each Home will also do what it can to facilitate these programs, because our young people need and deserve this training. And we pray that you young people will do your part as well by praying that the Lord will make it as easy as possible on your Homes while you are attending these meetings, and most important, that you will make this training worth it by taking it seriously and embracing it as the vision for your future.
174. In fact, all of the training programs listed earlier in this GN are a direct investment in the future of your Home. If we will all make the sacrifices needed, we can come out of this year with more well-trained Home shepherds and Home managers. Our 17-year-olds and YAs will be stronger and more ready for the offensive. The Regional Councils will be stronger and better trained. The parents will be stronger and thus the children will be as well. The Family will be in a stronger position with trained spokespersons for the Homes and regions. This all translates into stronger Family members, stronger Homes‚ and therefore a stronger Family. It's going to cost us during this year, but we believe it's well worth the investment due to the huge dividends we will reap.
175. From reading the preceding list of training programs, you probably noticed that some of them are the type of programs that could be recurring. For example, there's the FDTP and the XD. Those two programs could be repeat training programs, as each year there are new 17-year-olds and new YAs, who would certainly benefit from the training. Training our children and young people is an ongoing process, and some of the other training programs will be ongoing as well. The Home Shepherd Training Program and the Home Manager Training Program, for example, will remain available for new Home shepherds and Home managers to work through in the years to come.
176. The Lord has clearly told us that He wants all of us to put significant focus on stabilizing our Homes and winning teams, and investing time and resources in partaking of this training during 2007. Then the offensive launches. Once it does, how does training factor in? After the offensive has launched and we're all busy reaching the world, building our expanded church, and carrying out the new instructions that the Lord will be giving us related to the offensive, will we have time for recurring training programs? Once this year of training passes, will that be the end of it? Is there more to come?
177. Mama and I also wondered how the offensive and any ongoing training would fit together, so we asked the Lord about it. It's so wonderful to get His answers to questions that we could never figure out ourselves. It's such a relief to know that we don't have to worry about the future, because He has the master plan, with all the details figured out, and He has promised to reveal them one at a time, as we need to know them.
178. Here's the message the Lord gave about this:
179. (Jesus:) 2007 is the year in which I am instructing you to put significant focus and resources into receiving and applying training, along with stabilizing your Home and winning team.—And as you receive and apply the training, this will aid toward your Home and winning team becoming more stable.
180. All training will not come to an abrupt halt once the offensive is launched. As you venture into the offensive‚ there will be new types of training needed—training targeted to the offensive, to winning new converts and disciples, to handling the new opportunities I will bring your way‚ to avoiding the pitfalls that will come with pioneering new ways of reaching the world.
181. There will continue to be training given by the boards within each pillar of Family life, because life in My service is a life of learning. However, the training in the years to come will not be as concentrated or demanding as it will be during this year, when all boards are providing substantial training programs that must be worked through within a set period of time.
182. Even once the offensive has launched, your children will continue to grow and need training; there will be new parents that need assistance; there will be new 17–year–olds that need training before they enter the ranks of adulthood; there will be YAs that need discipleship training, and the list goes on. It would be unrealistic to think that once 2007 is past, all training will have been had.
183. Right now you're facing all of these brand-new training programs in one year. I'm challenging you to avail yourselves of all this vital input, so that the entire Family can be strengthened in spirit for the launch of the offensive. However, in the years to come‚ once the offensive is underway, the training focus will be adjusted. It will work hand in hand with the offensive and it will complement the offensive. It will not detract from it or pull from it. The training will be woven into the fabric of Family life, within the template and overall goals of the offensive, and it will be customized to the needs of the offensive era.
184. You see the future through a glass darkly, but I see the big picture very clearly. Trust Me. I know that you will have need of ongoing training and I will provide that training. I also know that your focus and efforts will have shifted to the winning offensive, to reaching the world with the Gospel, and that you will be very busy. Just as your focus will have shifted to the offensive, the means of receiving training will also shift, so that there is no conflict.
185. Use this year of training wisely. Apply yourselves diligently to study. When the offensive is underway‚ you will not have the same opportunity to receive such focused training as you do now‚ in such great abundance. Redeem the time so that you can be on schedule—My schedule of training and preparation. (End of message.)
186. (Peter:) So in a nutshell, yes, some of these training programs will be ongoing or recurring, but once the offensive launches, they will be adjusted to fit within the template and overall goals of the offensive. Mama and I, along with the RSs and international boards, will look carefully at the international boards' initiatives, training programs, and any other major events, to ensure that they complement the offensive, as the Lord said here. And as I said earlier, Mama and I foresee that there will be some change once the offensive begins, in order to free up time to devote toward the goals of the offensive. This too will play a part in facilitating the offensive.
187. We have a lot ahead of us this year, but one thing that is very inspiring is that so much of what the Lord is asking us to do is proactive and positive. Instead of dwelling on Family problems‚ we'll be focusing on moving toward the offensive. We have a timetable and a launch date. We're training for a positive goal, not for self-perfection. We know that we're moving to offensive warfare and we're training for it. It's all part of the Lord's plan to help us to be ready for what He has planned for us in the future.
188. As I mentioned earlier, in order to facilitate this training and to make it as easy as possible on the Homes‚ we've asked the RSs and the RCs to carefully go over the regional calendar for 2007 and to pray about cutting back on anything that isn't vital or doesn't sync up with the main international training initiatives, so as to not overload the Homes. Your Regional Council will prayerfully schedule the training programs so that they are spread out and don't all hit at the same time.
189. Lord willing‚ your Regional Council will soon be sending out a tentative outline of the events and programs that will take place in your region throughout 2007, so that you have sufficient time and as much advance notice as possible to prepare, to budget for upcoming expenses, and to make your plans accordingly.
190. It's Mama's and my prayer that every Home worldwide will grasp the vision of the need for the training this year and will work hard to make this training a reality. We pray that you will decide, as a Home, to make the commitment to allow those whom the training is geared for to have the time to study the material; to attend outside training programs, as needed; to apply the training, and that you will make this a priority for this year. We pray that as a Family we will unite around this vision together, and that we'll all be willing to make this investment in our future, even though it's going to cost us, individually and as a Home. We believe, and the Lord has promised, that it will be more than worth it.
191. Here's a message that Mama and I believe will give you a tremendous boost of faith, and renewed motivation to put your all into the time that remains before the offensive.
192. (Jesus:) You are familiar with My promises that "you can never lose by giving," "you cannot outgive Me," and "whatever you spend‚ I will more than repay." It's easy to become familiar with these words, especially in the absence of what you perceive to be "tangible" results. It's true that sometimes the tangible results and rewards for your sacrifices take time, even years sometimes, to see. But the difference now, My brides, is that the days of waiting are coming to a close.
193. Why do you think I have led your queen and king to set a timetable for the launch date of the offensive? Many times in recent months they have come back to Me to check if the launch date for the offensive is correct. They have been very open to the possibility of extending the date, knowing that this would make things easier on you, dear Family, and would cut you some slack. But I have confirmed to them that the launch date must be adhered to and that in this, there is no changing.
194. This is because I have a timetable and it cannot wait. In times past I have stopped the clock, and at other times I have turned back the time, but now the days of waiting are coming to a close. The end will not, and must not, wait forever. We have places to go and deadlines to meet in the big scope of ruling the universe. We must move on.
195. Things must move forward‚ and this includes the end of days of the world as you know it! I cannot allow man to go on and on in his iniquity. The cries of the poor, the needy, and the destitute fill My ears, and I cannot keep them on hold for much longer. The cries of the lost fill the heavens, and I must send you, My reapers, to gather them in. This is the reason why the offensive launch date must be on schedule. This is why you must be prepared. I cannot wait any longer, and neither can you. The final reaping must be underway shortly.
196. Let this encourage your hearts, My loves, for this means that you're going to see some action. The sacrifices that these training programs will require are going to bring tangible and immediate results in moving you forward to take your rightful places on the Endtime stage. You must get into position to fulfill your destiny‚ to reap the final harvest, to become miracle workers of the End, to stand up to the Antichrist forces, to prepare the way for My coming, and to join Me in ruling and reigning in the Golden Age of the Millennium.
197. Everything that you expend in order to rally behind these training programs and make them work is going to be worth it, because the results are going to start materializing as the offensive is underway. This I can guarantee you, because I too have target dates set, and things will soon begin to move along more visibly. You will soon begin to see more drastic change in the world at large.
198. Right now many people are desperate for answers and solutions in their lives, yet soon, even those who are now satisfied and who do not heed the signs of the times will come running to you for help as world conditions drive them to desperation. I'm moving forward and I need you to move forward with Me. As you do, you'll reap results. Many will flock to you begging for instruction‚ begging to be fed the words of life. Many will join forces with you and help support you.
199. Everything that you give in order to make these training programs work, both for yourselves and for others‚ will be more than worth it. This training will prepare you to enter the days of reaping, the days of action‚ of excitement, of blessing, of satisfaction and of great joy as you'll be used by Me and anointed by Me to defy the impossible!
200. This training time can be likened to the days prior to when I stepped out into My public ministry. Although the world has certainly heard about you, you could compare the offensive to you going public—the "new you," that is. The Family of the future, the ones who are better equipped with the spiritual weapons and more fully charged with the firepower of My Spirit, the fiery prophets of the End, let loose on the world. It's going to be a glorious outpouring of My Spirit‚ the likes of which the world has never seen!
201. The days of waiting will close when the offensive is launched, as the days of action begin. There will be no denying the results, and all My promises to you regarding the future will hold true. (End of message.)
202. (Peter:) That's thrilling news‚ isn't it? If that doesn't light a fire under you to redeem this year, and do all within your power to invest all the time needed to get ready and be trained‚ I don't know what will. Let's go to it, shall we?
203. In reading all this information, you might feel a bit awed by all that the Lord is challenging us to strive for, not to mention all the work involved in achieving these goals. Please remember that the Lord doesn't expect you to be ready for the offensive today. That's why He's given us time, why He's given us goals to work toward, and why He's challenging us with the training programs. He knows we need time to get ready‚ and He's given us this time. We still have 13 months before we receive the orders to march.
204. Thirteen months isn't a long time, but it's enough time if we're motivated to move forward. It's enough time to get trained if we regularly work through the training material. It is enough time, but if you don't work hard and methodically to reach the goals, then it won't be enough time for you. As a Home, please get together and discuss where you are at in reaching these goals. Ask yourselves the following questions: "Is our Home stable?" "Are we already a winning team?" "If not, what do we need to do to achieve that?" Set your goals as a Home. Work toward achieving them with a passion, and as you do, you will be ready to march successfully into the future.
205. We have a big year ahead of us! With our present Homes working to become stable, with movement of personnel into our present Homes or opening new Homes, everyone working to build winning teams, the training programs underway, some of the young people being out of the Homes for a period of time, along with keeping up with the training and education of our children, getting personally stronger in spirit through applying the Word in our lives, it's going to be a massive year! In fact, it seems almost overwhelming! And if we try to do it all in our own strength, it will be overwhelming. But there is help at hand!
206. The key to achieving all that needs to be accomplished this year is united, proactive prayer. The Lord clearly stated that prayer is going to be the key to getting us through this year successfully. He said:
Trying to accomplish these goals within the same year seems almost impossible, and in the flesh it is impossible. But through the power of the keys‚ nothing is impossible to Me! I can work the miracles that will make it possible for Homes to both be strengthened internally while at the same time participating in the training provided by the international boards. In order to bring these miracles about, you must all pray. It is through your prayers that these things can happen.
207. Prayer is going to be the key, not only to making it through this year, but for the entire offensive. We are facing a huge task ahead, a task way too big for human hands. The only way we will be successful in our offensive is through prayer—targeted prayer, proactive prayer‚ prayers backed up by faith and belief that the Lord can't and won't fail.
208. We need to use prayer as a proactive weapon, and we need to start now! Mama and I will be writing more about proactive prayer later on in the year, but in short‚ proactive prayer is fighting future battles today through prayer. It's prayer that goes beyond praying for the things that you want and need to happen today or this week; it's praying for things that need to happen four, five, six months or a year from now.
209. We have major progress to make this year—every member, every Home, every region. So Mama and I are asking you to commit—all of you, dear Family—to bringing our major worldwide needs to the Lord together in prayer.
210. We'd like to ask you to pray regularly for the following things. And when you pray, pray in faith, claiming the keys and believing that the Lord can and will do the miracles needed to get us all ready for the offensive in 13 months.
[ ] For new Homes and new teams that are presently forming and that will yet form to be made of the right members, that they will bond and build stable Homes that bear long-term fruit.
[ ] For those who are still looking for Homes to find a winning team Home.
[ ] For those whom the Lord is calling to step out and open new Homes‚ and that in doing so they will have the faith to bring in those who are looking for a place to commit to.
[ ] For Home shepherds to be loving and prayerful shepherds, to devote sufficient time to spiritual shepherding.
[ ] For Home managers to effectively organize and manage all the aspects of daily life, while proactively planning for the future.
[ ] For Steering Councils to work together in unity, to be effective in helping to steer and direct the Home, and facilitate the Home reaching its agreed-upon goals.
[ ] For Home Councils to be effective in discussion, prayer, and decision-making. To make wise decisions that will set them on the path to fruitfulness.
[ ] For each Home member to contribute toward stability and Home accountability. To find their place and to fill it with enthusiasm and diligence. For love, unselfishness, obedience and unity.
[ ] For Homes to progress in each board's criteria; to pass upcoming Home reviews.
[ ] For long-term visas for those who need them.
[ ] For new‚ spacious housing for those who need larger or more adequate housing. For low rents, favorable landlords, and good sample Homes.
[ ] Against upheavals in the world situation, emergencies, attacks of the Enemy, and avoidable persecution.
[ ] For financial support, rent for Homes, pledgers, tithers‚ and stable income.
[ ] For Homes to make the switch from hand–to-mouth fundraising methods to regular support through follow–up.
[ ] For faith to believe that as focus is placed on building a work, faithful follow-up, and shepherding of the sheep, the Lord will provide supporters.
[ ] For inheritances and windfalls to boost WS finances, which are very low.
[ ] For each Home to have the faith and commitment needed to invest time and manpower in these programs, even if it's a hardship.
[ ] For the training to reap great results in strengthened individuals and Homes.
[ ] For our teens and YAs to be strengthened through the training programs for them, and be prepared to play their important role in the offensive.
[ ] For abundant supply of needed finances, especially for training programs that will require finances for travel, lodging, as well as the needs of those remaining at home.
[ ] For the Homes to be able to operate effectively during times when members are away for extended periods.
[ ] Against emergencies, sickness, or other setbacks that would make it difficult for Home members to be away, or to have sufficient time to devote to studying the in-house training courses.
[ ] For a spirit of unselfishness, brotherhood‚ and One Wife to prevail; to help facilitate other Homes and individuals also receiving training.
[ ] For adequate computers and reliable Internet connections in the Homes to accommodate the online training courses.
[ ] That all Family members and Homes will be ready for the offensive come February 18, 2008.
4. For preparations for the offensive. For Mama's and my anointing and wisdom as we pray, counsel, and plan for the offensive. The Lord has revealed a lot about the offensive to us already, and we will be getting some more information to you about it in the near future, but it hasn't completely gelled yet. We need divine wisdom‚ revelations‚ and clear channels in order to receive all that the Lord has for us at this time.
5. Please also pray for all of WS and Family leadership, as they are playing a big role in preparing for the offensive as well—many acting as our counselors‚ or brainstorming with us, or working on pubs or projects for the offensive, or praying about questions, etc. There's an immense amount of work to be done, and each person involved needs a supernatural anointing of wisdom and divine guidance.
211. If each of us will keep these requests in our prayers, if we will pray as a Home for each of these requests at least once a week, and if we will project those prayers with desperation and faith‚ then we can know the Lord will answer, and it will make a huge difference in the progress made and the fruit borne this year.
212. By praying unitedly, as a Family, we will be unleashing the power of God upon the Family and upon circumstances which will be influenced by our prayers. If we're praying for the right kind of housing in the right locations‚ then, in areas all over the world, we can know that the Lord will open doors that would not have otherwise opened. He will begin working in people's lives and will put them in the right place at the right time in order to supply our needs.
213. If we pray for financial stability‚ not just for our own Homes but for every Home in the Family, then we can know that the Lord will answer and it will make a major difference throughout this year. Our Homes will begin to make the transition from the "hand-to-mouth" fundraising methods, and will be traveling on the path of follow-up and deeply ministering to people who will then turn around and support our Homes.
214. If we pray for every Home's Steering Council to grow stronger, for every training program to be effective, for every 17-year-old to become a strong disciple, for every YA to commit to the Family and to become the disciple winner they are going to need to be, for every Home manager to learn to manage their Home, for every Home to get stabilized and grow stronger, then we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord will answer.
215. All of us joined together, focusing our prayers on the same things—praying for each other, praying for us, as a Family, to accomplish the Lord's will—will have a powerful effect worldwide. So we ask that you please commit to praying for these requests. Please commit to praying proactively, realizing that in doing so you are changing the Family's future. Together we will be tapping in to the power source of Heaven. We will be setting in motion the spirit world to work on our behalf in specific and targeted ways. We will be teamworking with our spirit helpers. And if we do this wholeheartedly, vigorously, and with concerted effort, we can expect that in one year's time we will all be much stronger and ready to launch our offensive to win the world.
216. Will you pray with us? Will you help to influence the future by praying today and tomorrow and regularly for these important matters? We know you will, and we know that God cannot fail to answer our united prayers. Therefore we know that this year ahead‚ although tough, is going to be one of the most fruitful ever.
217. So let's pray! Let's put feet to our prayers and do our part to get well trained and grow stronger, as an individual, as a Home, as a region, and as the worldwide Family. Remember, we're in this together. It's not just "every man to his own tent" or every Home on its own. This is a worldwide call to arms and effort which we are all a part of. We need each others' prayers, support‚ and encouragement. The Homes in each city and in each region need to work together to make the overall work more effective.
218. All of us need to work together to make the Family stronger so that when the train of God's highest will pulls into the station, we can all get on board, with no one left behind. So do your part, and while you are‚ do something to help others to get ready‚ to get trained, and to make it to the station so they will also get on board the express train to victory. We're in it together! So let's each do our part so that we can be all that God intends for us to be. Amen?
219. Here's a closing word from our Commander in Chief.
220. (Jesus:) My dear brides, as you look upon this year and all that is ahead, I want you to know that the future is as bright as My promises. And haven't My promises been fantastic? Go back and read some of what I have said in recent years in GN after GN of the great things that you will do as My brides. I've promised great things and I will fulfill My promises. I will work through you to bring about My promises in out–of–this-world, far-out ways. These things are ready to be fulfilled. You are at the threshold of great things.
221. As a Family‚ you have been scaling many mountains lately, and when you have reached one peak, the next often appears even higher and steeper. And now this year looms large before you. It portends to be a year of hard work, of sacrifice and of rigorous climbing. But don't give up now, My loves! Don't get discouraged, for the fulfillment of My promises is at hand. The great and mighty harvest that you will reap is just ahead.
222. Climb with gusto and perseverance and know that I will be with you every step of the way. I'll be in front leading the way and working miracles on your behalf as you work through focused, targeted prayer to move My hand to open great doors—doors of supply, provision, and all that you need. I want to and I will do miracles! All that I require of you is that you keep moving forward—one day at a time, one step at a time, one fervent and desperate prayer at a time.
223. Don't fail in your commission to pray. It is through your prayers that you will be propelled forward with superhuman strength to do the seemingly impossible that I am requiring of you this year. Your prayers are the "step" you can take that will cause Me to take two for you‚ and to lift you right over the mountain. If you are praying fervently, you can be sure that My promises will be fulfilled. That's My guarantee. You can stand on that promise.
224. I see each of your needs and I am raring to supply them. I'm eager for the entire Family to take the next step and launch into the offensive. I know how important this year is in relation to the future—the future of the Family and the future of the world—and I promise to be with you each step of the way.
225. I'll be with you as you build and stabilize your teams. I will supply the personnel that you need. I will supply the housing that you are looking for. I will work in your hearts so that as a team you can be joined together in love and unity, and forge a strong bond in Me that cannot be broken. The keys of love and brotherhood will assist you as you work to stabilize and solidify your winning teams so that you can have a stable base to launch the great witnessing and winning offensive from.
226. I'll be with you as you move toward financial stability. Nothing is impossible for Me. I'm waiting to supply and to prove to you that obeying Me opens the floodgates to the results and rewards that I've promised. It only takes you putting Me on the spot and reaching for it. Financial stability via the methods that I have ordained for you through follow-up, Activated, and reaching the rich and labor leaders is attainable, and you will see steps of progress in this area this year. The keys of abundant supply will open the vaults of Heaven and pour out the blessings and finances that you need as you step out by faith and stand on My promises.
227. I'll be with you as you receive training and as you support those who are receiving training this year. I consider each of you My most precious resource, and I promise that as you take the time to be filled and trained, or to make it possible for others to receive input and training, that training will not return unto you void. It will result in your Home and winning team becoming united and prepared for the offensive. The keys of heavenly insight will open your eyes and illuminate your hearts to be changed by the input you receive, so that you will be ready to be the offensive fighting force that will conquer all that is before you.
228. I'll be with you as you work together within your Home, city and area to become not only a winning Home, but a winning city, a winning area, and a winning region for Me! The keys of unity will make your area strong and united, tightly knit together in love so that the sum of your parts is stronger and more powerful and can accomplish one hundred times more than all of the individual units on their own. The Enemy will shake and tremble as he sees you rise up in unison, powerful as individual units, yet even more powerful as a whole, to defeat him and bring about the greatest reaping and harvest of this generation.
229. So rejoice! When you look ahead at this year‚ look into My face and praise Me for all that I will do to bring about these miracles that I have promised. Know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it can be done. It can be done not only because I have asked it of you‚ and I would never ask you to do something that you couldn't do, but especially because I will be there doing it through you, with you, and for you. It can and will be done because you will be moving My hand to work for you through your desperate and targeted prayers. It can be done because My promises are sure and cannot be broken. It can be done because you are My brides, and I will withhold nothing from My brides who call on the keys and who seek to fulfill My will.
230. I'm excited‚ and you should be too. Come on! What are you waiting for? Take My hand and let's move forward into the exciting future before us. It's going to be wonderful! The hard work and the sacrifice will be nothing compared to the rewards and the satisfaction that you will receive once you have made it and proven that My Word is true and My promises are eternal.
231. Forward we go, hand in hand‚ marching on to your destiny! Are you with Me this year? Are you ready for a wild and exciting ride? Are you ready for miracles? Are you ready to prove Me? If you are, then step right up and let's go together! (End of message.)
232. (Peter:) Mama and I love you very much. You're in our prayers. Please keep us in yours, because we need them. May our wonderful Husband make this a magnificent year—a year of progress, of readiness, and of preparation for the wonderful offensive years ahead!
[ ] Evaluate how your Home is doing in building your winning team. Do you have all the needed components of your winning team?
[ ] Is your Home stable or in a state of flux? Do you have a lot of personnel joining and leaving your Home regularly? If so, why?
[ ] Do you have a core team of people who are committed to the Home, its sheep, and building a lasting work?
[ ] Is your Steering Council stable? Do you have a high turnover rate?
[ ] Evaluate how your Home is doing in implementing the criteria. What are your weak spots‚ and do you have a practical plan to ensure that you make progress? Do you feel you'll pass all boards in the April 2007 Home review?
[ ] Look at where you stand in relation to the goal of financial stability. Are there steps you can take now to move you closer to that goal? (Bearing in mind that it will take time, and remembering the Lord's promise that financial stability will come, in part, with the offensive. This isn't an immediate, "now" goal.)
[ ] Is your Home doing as much as you're able to‚ at this time, to make the transition to support based on follow–up?
[ ] Is your Home in unity with the surrounding Homes? Does your Home contribute to your city and region? Are you thinking of the needs of other Homes, or are you only focused on your own Home and its needs?
[ ] Discuss the training programs in the lineup for this year and how they might affect your Home. Brainstorm how you can free up time for those involved in training programs to have time to go through the courses. Map out a plan, for both attendance and financing (for programs outside the Home), and providing study time (for in-house programs) that will enable your Home and members to receive the training.
[ ] Discuss your Home members' progress in learning the local language, if applicable. If this is a weak area, chart out a plan for progress. Think of incentives; make it a challenge.
[ ] Look at your online access and determine whether it's suitable for your Home's needs‚ factoring in the online training courses. Also look at your Home's computer availability, to determine whether it will meet the requirements of all who will need to use computers for studying training courses throughout the year. If you need more computers, claim the Lord's miraculous supply and ask Him for possibilities of obtaining or provisioning what you will need.
[ ] Make an effective prayer plan. Consider designating a point person or two to spearhead the prayer push. Make copies of the prayer list available to everyone. Determine when and how you'll pray for the requests. Make your prayers stirring. Expect results!
Note to Steering Council: Please don't miss discussing these topics, either as a Steering Council or as a Home Council. Set a date to have this completed by. It will only strengthen your Home!
Copyright © 2007 by The Family International