What can a Quaker meeting do to become stronger, more visible and more welcoming? This question has as much to do with inreach—deepening the spiritual life of the meeting community—as it does with outreach—our message and witness to the world.
Many Quakers deeply long to see our meetings grow – to experience deep and grounded worship, to participate in a thriving and active community life that embraces children, young adults, and diverse voices, and to share the gift of Quaker practice and faith with the wider world. Meaningful growth is about more than numbers and to increase the vitality and voice of the Religious Society of Friends calls for a holistic approach. The resources in this section are designed to address three distinct components of meeting growth: Growing Our Spirits, Growing Our Presence, and Growing Our Quaker Community.
- Growing Our Spirits (Inreach) – strengthening the meeting community, sharing personal journeys, and becoming welcoming and vibrant
- Growing Our Presence (Outreach) – becoming known in the local community through publicity and inviting seekers in
- Growing our Quaker Community (Integrating Newcomers) – welcoming visitors and integrating newcomers into the life of our meetings
The three components of growth – inreach, outreach, and integrating newcomers – are interconnected and equally important in supporting the health and vitality of our meetings.
Often the simple act of thinking about welcoming newcomers, of getting ready to receive them, and of preparing to integrate them into the life of the meeting, will give new life to a meeting.
Grow Our Meetings Toolkit
In the process of preparing for outreach, meetings often experience deep spiritual sharing and take steps toward being more welcoming and inclusive of newcomers.
Outreach is a component of meeting growth. Seekers want to know about the relevance of the Quaker way in their lives today. Outreach is bigger than advertising, publicity, and hosting public events, although these things are important and powerful. Effective outreach is about learning to speak about the Quaker way and our own experiences as Quakers, as well as living as “patterns and examples” in our daily lives in the wider community. In this way, folks in our communities can come to know that Quakers exist, Quakers do good work, Quaker process works, and Quaker spirituality offers a powerful gift for the world today.
Successful outreach is not about Quaker history or telling the whole Quaker story. It’s about telling your Quaker story in your community, in a way that is open, invitational, and authentic. Through outreach, we invite others to come through our doors and see if the Quaker spiritual path as we live it is right for them.
Sample Agenda: A 3-Hour Session on Discerning Next Steps for Outreach
|Centering Worship||15 minutes|
|Introduce the Hallmarks of Speaking About the Quaker Way||10 minutes|
|Outreach Is…||30-45 minutes|
|Quaker? Maybe!||45-60 minutes|
|Worship Sharing: Discerning Next Steps||30 minutes|
Files & Toolkits
*The starred files below include facilitation guides for activities you can implement TODAY in your meeting.
Quaker Meetings Toolbox
Outreach and publicity are about sharing our spiritual search and insights with those who want to listen. For Quakers, outreach and publicity are not about converting people, but rather about helping them understand what we value, do, and how we seek to support each other in living out our faith.
Our role is to encourage, resource and help build the confidence of Quakers in our corporate responsibility of speaking about our faith and the way we work and worship together. Below are tools that will help your worship group or meeting do the vital work of outreach and publicity.