Lessons Learned at the Spokane Transit Center Outreach

Mission Statement: "Our intent is to share the Christ-idea----the Comforter----by planting seeds in ways and places we may never know."

General categories (for later classification of the below items, one by one): Staffing, Business, Church Issues, Logistics

1. Need outgoing people of any age, serious students of Christian Science, able to stand 1-2 hours

2. Need a nearby storage facility for books and props

3. It works best to have two people on duty at a time, and one male, one female is good

4. Dress casually

5. Need a Christian Science church or similar 501(c)3 entity as fiscal agent

6. Don't argue or debate very much. People with inflexible opinions aren't open for the message. "We are here to share something that has brought blessings to us and many others, not argue theological points".

7. The Prayer Pamphlet is quite useful for mildly interested or very Christian people who don't want Science and Health at this time.

8. "Free" is an excellent draw---use multiple signs.

9. Science and Health is good as the sole focus. Have a few CD's or other literature backups for special cases.

10. Be prepared with common foreign language editions of Science and Health. They make an eye-catching table-top display.

11. A tall stand-alone book rack is helpful to display Science and Health, as well as a folding table with sign-holders.

12. Some people will approach to ask questions, with others it is very helpful to "reach out" verbally as they walk past, asking something like, "Have you read this book?" if you can establish eye contact. Many excellent interactions come with those not normally inclined to walk up to a display table.

13. The statement, "This book is about spirituality and healing" is another good conversation-starter with someone tending to walk past.

14. Mary Baker Eddy's life synopsis and near-death experience is an excellent introduction to the book once a conversation has begun.

15. Hardly anyone under age 50 has ever heard of Christian Science or Mary Baker Eddy.

16. It is helpful to have a metaphysical support group in action during the outreach...and before and after, reinforcing the value of the message provided to each "customer".

17. It is also helpful to provide weekly progress/fruitage reports to all supporters, including pictures (make sure to get signed release statements from any person easily identifiable in a picture).

18. There are a lot of spare new/used Science and Health's available in most churches and Reading Rooms.

19. Even hardback Sunday School editions of Science and Health are attractive to some people (as long as they are in decent condition).

20. It is important to insure the following functions are being accomplished by one or more designated outreach staff/team members: keeping track of books on hand; tracking donations and planning for the continuity of supply; keeping track of staffing; functioning as liaison with local churches; functioning as liaison with the outreach site management; preparing weekly email progress/fruitage reports; responding to donors.

21. A central person from within a 501(c)3 entity (treasurer or clerk of a local church) must process financial accounts of the outreach.

22. Besides the principal outreach staff/volunteers there need to be other qualified volunteers to act as substitutes.

23. Christian Science Publishing Society will sell in bulk (241 or more copies of the textbook) at best wholesale prices/freight when approved.

24. Need to allow multi-month response times when requesting books or financial donations from churches.

25. It is important to have several local church members staff the outreach activity at least once to get a feel for what is taking place.

26. There are occasional people who may try to undermine the outreach on site...but our experience is that only about seven have been obnoxious out of over 7000 people met.

27. Outreach team/volunteers should have some basic knowledge about Scientology, Paganism, and Evangelical Christianity. It goes without saying that basic knowledge of the Bible is critical, especially creation stories.

28. Outreachers should have and be able to readily quote a favorite Bible verse. That is sometimes asked during conversations, perhaps just to insure that Christian Science really is Bible-based.

29. Some conservative Christian Scientists have seriously resisted/undermined this outreach based on one or more of the following "threats", so outreachers should be prepared to counter these concerns coming from within our movement : (a). The Prayer Pamphlet (reprint of first chapter of Science and Health) is specifically forbidden in the book of Revelation, (b) It was not Mrs. Eddy's intent to give away free copies of Science and Health, (c) this kind of active outreach is "too out there" for Christian Scientists, (d) this gifting of our textbook undercuts Reading Room sales, (e) full-time or part-time practitioners participating in such an outreach are just trying to build their personal practices, (f) this kind of activity is not mentioned in the Manual of The Mother Church, (g) people found in public venues like transit stations are "not the kind of people we want in our church", (h) we should be concerned about copies of Science and Health "falling into the wrong hands" (other clergy), (i) various personality issues may come into play between the outreach members and other church members.

30. Christian Scientists considering serving in an outreach like this often are hesitant and pose questions, which may be called the "five fears of engagement": "I don't know if I can answer all questions about CS"; "To the general public I may sound naive or foolish about my CS beliefs"; "I may get verbally abused by some fundamentalist Christians or others"; "People probably aren't interested in metaphysics and will ignore or ridicule us"; and, since so many of us in CS churches are senior citizens, "I don't think I can effectively talk with, or relate to, the youngest generations".

31. If you responded "basically not true" to all five concerns in item #30, above, you are correct.