I wrote this in one of the comments in Daylight on the subject of why the organization have not grown.
I always wonder why we don’t have full-time speaker, who are strong in study, such as a pastor of a Church, who speaks really well and can motivate and encourage people in attendance. When we have good speakers, even members will want to bring other friends to listen. For the past few years, all the speaking responsibilities are put on the han and district leaders but they are han/district for a reason – their faith is just starting out and many are not even strong in study. How many people these days attend discussion meeting and go back feeling encouraged and fulfilled? Or do they feel bored and empty? I know the intent was to train the next wave of leaders, but not everyone is meant to be a good speaker. Everyone has different mission, some just can’t speak. We can’t just put the responsibilities of something so important on these levels and expect to encourage and draw more crowds.
Secondly, why do we insist to run discussion meetings on weekdays? Malaysia is a country of traffic jams and we end up having people skipping dinner or rushing to attend discussion meetings. We also try to end the meeting on-time at 9pm. So if I was rushing to the meeting and I saw that it’s already 8.20pm, I’d think many people would have detoured for dinner, because they would know that by the time they reached the meeting place, they have maybe 30 minutes before the meeting will end. Why can’t we conduct discussion meetings on weekends? Don’t forget that parents with kids will usually not attend meeting because of needing to coach the kids with school homework or sending them to tuition. Don’t forget the next day of our discussion meet is also a school day.
Again, learning from Christians where they have worship EVERY Sunday (4 times a month) and yet their believers came without much urging because 1) they enjoyed the sermon by the pastor, who is usually a excellent motivator and 2) they all know Sunday is sermon and have set aside the time and Sunday is usually a more relaxed day.
I don’t understand why we don’t learn from other faith organizations and still kept to our old ways. Are we too old school? How do we expect to keep the youth engage if we are so old school thinking? Look, it’s a fact that we hardly EVER have any youth in our 4D discussion meetings. Have we reviewed and reflect on why this is the case?
Malaysia has only 20%-30% of the population that is non Muslim. Out of this minority, we have so many religions trying to gain membership – strongest among them are Christians and Catholics. Even Buddhism has so many sects, the rising popular ones is Tzu-Chi. You mention Tzu-Chi to anyone you meet on the road and they know about this Buddhist organization, because of their fast-action in helping natural disaster victims and their charity activities. You mentioned SGM and no one knows what it is despite our cultural activities and performances during Merdeka. Have we reviewed why that is the case? We claimed that we are a modern religion, we are a world religion but many of our secular practices such as in fundamental areas like discussion meetings and speakers, we are not able to modernize.
And then there is this crisis that now set us back another 15 years.
Some serious reform is needed if we expect this organization to grow. And if our top leaders does not know what to do, then they need to come to the ground and listen and observe. Or get help. Or observe how other people are doing. And looking at how memos are being written these days, I also think they needed a good PR department.
COBB: What do you want from us?
Arthur raises his eyebrows. Cobb is poker-faced.
SAITO: Is it possible?
ARTHUR: Of course not.
SAITO: If you can steal an idea from someone’s mind, why can’t you plant one there instead?
In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio played a role of an agent, Cobb, who could get into his sleeping target’s subconscious mind and plant ideas. When his target awakes, his target would think that he thought of the idea himself. Therefore, the target will do things that Cobb wanted him to do. Hopefully this post served as a form of inception into our top leaders’ mind, such that we might see a change to the way we conduct discussion meetings and pave ways for a growth in membership.