After my return from the Budapest conference, I was contacted by one of our members asking me about the different study group models I know of, because from what this reader said in her message, it was her opinion that the younger generation is less prone to joining study groups the way that most are currently structured.
This is a very important question associated with a more important comment. The question is easy to answer as there exist on different organizations’ website many study aids, guides, articles and experiences shared by readers about the value of study groups and how they can be organized and managed. The difficulty arises when trying to respond to a comment like this about the interest young readers have for the actual ways study groups are conducted, organized or managed. Not being a young reader myself and belonging to a very different generation (I am now 67) I find myself somewhat unqualified to provide good solutions to this problem.
So what I have asked of this reader who contacted me is to help me understand and find out what these new readers are looking for in study groups, but at the same time explaining to her the purpose of study groups in relation to the mission of The Urantia Book. Maybe my request was a bit too demanding or my expectations too high as this reader has not yet responded to my request. So after sharing my email with members of my study group committee, one of them shared with me his initial experience with a study group so I could get a better perspective about new readers in study groups. I have urged him to write an article about it so other hosts of study groups could benefit from it.
So what is my goal in writing this article? I am looking for young readers who would like to be part of my committee so we could find solutions on how to organize and manage study groups that would be attractive and interesting to the new generations of readers. If we do not find ways to readjust the way we do things in study groups, we might fail in our goal to create thousands of them.
We often hear the comment, “where are the young readers?” when we gather together in conferences. I believe the ones who can answer this question are the young readers themselves.
If you are a young reader and would like to help us find answers and solutions to what I’ve mentioned here, please contact me at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
As for ways to organize study groups and facilitate them, I have a plethora of documents and study aids that address this issue. I cannot give the web address of my collection here as it is too long, but if you write to me, I will gladly send it to you.
Gaetan G. Charland
Study Group Chair
Urantia Association International