In so many of my service circles we lament about the shrinking of our fellowship and what it will take to grow it again. It feels like a big job. But I am reminded that all I have to do is simply carry the message to the best of my ability - that means showing up for meetings and doing what I can to add to the experience, strength and hope in the room. Whenever possible, I'm trying to share about "what I was like, what happened, and what I'm like now."
After all, why would anyone come back to OA unless they hear about what separates this program from the hundreds of other options? We have food plans, but so does everyone else. But, if I hear someone say "food had me by the throat; it was the most important thing in my life, but the 12 steps and my higher power have relieved the obsession," that's unique.
At one of the World Service Business Conference workshops titled "Attracting Young People," one presenter who came into the program at 17 and the other in his early 20's, shared about what attracted them to the fellowship and kept them coming back. A key takeaway for me was that it wasn't about sitting in the rooms with other young people, it was hearing about attractive recovery from anyone of any age. The younger set wants to hear from older fellows who also came into the program young. Workshop attendees were encouraged to share a message with weight and depth when talking about recovery in meetings.
When I get all wound up about how to "save OA" and increase membership, I need only remember to carry the message as I have been taught to the best of my ability. That's "keeping it simple!"
Cindy C. - Region 1