A. Devote one day each month to prayer, praise and thanksgiving.
         Since most of us are already accustomed to having monthly area-wide or continental prayer days, we would like to continue this very needed and fruitful practice. Your continental office will designate a monthly prayer day in your area in which all Homes will be expected to participate. We realize, though, that at times unavoidable circumstances occur. So if for some reason you can't hold your Home's prayer day on the assigned day, you can hold it a day or two before or after the assigned day. For example, if the assigned prayer day is the second Wednesday of each month, and one particular month you already have an unavoidable appointment on that day, your Home could hold your prayer day a few days before or after, whatever is most convenient for your Home.
         We suggest that your Home also take time on this day to hear from the Lord for any needed direction, counsel or words of encouragement that He may have for you.

         We would like to encourage you to start having a Prayer Day on a monthly basis, preferably on a regular workday instead of a rest day or family day. ... I'm afraid if we don't take time to pray, who knows what losses we're going to sustain just because we don't take that extra time. The time we put into prayer instead of work will count much more in the long run (LNF 164).

1. Instead of designating a full day as your Monthly Prayer Day, you may prefer two half-days during the month.

B. Have prayer vigil a minimum of four times per week, but preferably daily.
         As Dad has taught us, this Revolution was born in prayer, so we feel it is important that each Home include prayer vigil as a part of their daily activities. We realize that every Home's situation and schedule is different, so although one hour daily per Home would be the ideal, it may not be realistic on a
daily basis. Therefore we would like to leave the structuring and length of your prayer vigil times up to each Home. prayer vigil can be fun and inspiring. If necessary, you could even assign the prayer vigil to two individuals who could pray during certain daily activities like hanging out the laundry, a walking get-out, etc.

         We hope you are also continuing your regular daily Prayer Vigils. Thanks for your love and faithfulness. Yours in Him, Maria and Peter (LNF 97).

C. A minimum of two Home council meetings per month for voting members, at least one of which must address financial matters. A minimum of 50% of the Home's voting members must be present.

1. New members in the Family less than six months cannot attend Home council meetings.
         The Home must have at least two Home council meetings per month, one of which is devoted entirely or in part to financial matters. When it says a
minimum, that doesn't mean that that's all the Home has to do, rather that's the least they must do, it is what is required. Some Homes might find that they need a weekly Home council meeting while others might feel that they are needed twice a week. It's up to them to decide, but the Home cannot decide to have less than two Home council meetings per month.
         Home council meetings should be held at a convenient time and when the greatest number of the Home's voting members are available. There must be at least 50% of the Home's voting members in the meeting. Remember that if you don't attend a Home council meeting, you still can vote on the matters when you return Home. Or you can give someone your proxy, which allows them to vote for you in your absence
         Also, if a member abstains, the Home's voting population is decreased by one for that particular vote.
         (See Election Rules, A. for further details on voting procedures.)

         As new members do not become voting members until after six months in the Family, they are not allowed to attend Home council meetings. A person on Probationary Status or Partial Excommunication is no longer a voting member of the Home until reinstated, and therefore temporarily does not attend these meetings.

         I don't want you [the shepherd] making any decisions for them. You are merely to be an advisor, a shepherd, a counselor to them--not driving them. You are to simply supervise them. You call the meeting, act as its chairman, open the meeting and present the problem and ask for discussion. Then frame it into a motion or resolution and take a vote on it, and be sure you have appointed somebody to carry it out (ML #297:76).

D. Send a representative from their Home to at least one city council meeting in every two-month period, if their Home is in a metropolitan area with more than one Charter Home.

         If a city has more than one Charter Home, a city council consisting of representatives from the local Homes should meet at least every two months, if not more often. In this case, in saying city we're referring to the metropolitan area, so that cities where the Homes may be within different city limits but still in the same metropolis would also be required to hold city councils. Every Home that is in a city or metropolitan area with more than one Charter Home is required to send a representative to at least one city council meeting in every two-month period.

1. The Homes should elect a city council chairperson for a two-month term.
         The chairperson position can be held indefinitely if the city council continues to elect the same chairperson, or it can change hands at two-month intervals.

2. The chairperson's responsibilities are to organize the city council meetings and keep a written record of all decisions, to be given to all the Homes in the city, and made available to the area office upon request.
         The chairperson is also responsible to pass any meeting notes on to the next chairperson when he leaves this post. The chairperson may either chair the city council meetings or appoint someone to do so.
         The city council chairperson is not be a shepherding role, and the chairperson has no leadership authority other than simply helping to organize and coordinate the meetings. The chairperson is not obligated to give any charismatic speeches or presentations; all he/she needs to do is simply ask other individuals from the area to lead the inspiration and/or open the floor for testimonies, points of discussion or business, etc. City councils are encouraged on a monthly basis, with at least one required in any given two-month period.

E. A minimum of one witnessing meeting per month for voting members to discuss and pray about outreach activities and plans, and to pray for friends, contacts, etc. A minimum of 50% of the Home's voting members must be present.
         Because witnessing is so important, and it's vital that the Home prays for its contacts and friends, and decides what their witnessing goals are and how they are going to meet those goals, etc., it is required that each Home have at least one witnessing meeting per month, in addition to their two required Home council meetings. Again, some Homes may find it necessary to have such meetings more regularly, and/or to address the subject during a portion of their Home council meetings.

F. A minimum of one childcare/parenting meeting per month for Homes with children. A minimum of 50% of the Home's voting members must be present.
         The care of our children is of the utmost importance. Thus each Home with children is required to have a
minimum of one childcare/parenting meeting per month, although we recommend two. A small Home, one that only has seven children, for example, probably doesn't need to have two childcare/parenting meetings per month; whereas a Home with more children might find it necessary. It will depend on the Home and the amount of children in it, but the minimum is one per month.

         It's so important that all those involved in the training of our children counsel together and agree on policies.--Educational, disciplinary, recreational--every area of childcare should be discussed and decided upon together (ML #2670:21).

G. All children 13 years old and younger must have a minimum of one hour of parent time at least 5 times per week, with their parent(s) or guardian(s), or with a qualified adult if the parent(s) or guardian(s) are away from the Home.
         Children need to spend time with their parents, and so must have at least one hour of parent time five times per week. Although we feel it's best that they have it
daily, we don't want to be unrealistic by demanding it seven nights a week, which may not be practical. If the parents or guardians are not in the Home for a number of days, they or the Home should assign someone to have parent time with their children. They should take the children's wishes into account when assigning an adult to be with them during parent time.

H. All members ages 9 through 17 must have a minimum of one hour of personal time every two weeks with a shepherd or designated adult, or participate in a one-hour weekly open forum discussion chaired by a shepherd and comprising other members of their age group.

1. Personal time may be conducted by a Home officer or parent(s), or another competent voting member assigned by the Home's officers.

2. Members ages 12 through 17 may put forth suggestions as to whom they would prefer to have personal time with.
         All members from ages 9 through 17 need to have personal time of one hour every two weeks, or alternatively open forums every week, if that is what they vote for. Home teamwork members, parents, or other competent adults, YAs or even senior teens may conduct the personal time.
         The JETTs and teens may give suggestions as to who they want to have their personal time with. It may not always work out for them to be with the person they choose, but as much as possible the Home should try to comply with their wishes.
         Anything shared within personal time talks should be treated as confidential information within the teamwork and should not be unnecessarily shared with others.

         Besides the common problems that all children experience, most children are bound to have special problems, individual fears and individual worries at some time.--And taking personal time with them is the only way that I know of to let the kids really unburden their hearts, and for you to see where they're at so you can effectively address their problems. How else can you do that, but by spending time with them? If you're going to get good results with your children and really help them get over their problems, you're simply going to have to make such time with them. ... All children need somebody special to be close to and occasions upon which they can pour out their hearts to someone who will patiently hear them out (ML #2631:10,26).

I. Open Forum Discussions:

1. Each individual age group, from OCs to YAs, should vote on whether their group prefers open forums, or personal time, or some combination thereof.
         If an age group votes to have an open forum, or pow-wow type meeting, then the rules for open forum discussions apply as follows:

2. Members, ages 14-20, should vote by age group on the topics to be discussed in their age group's open forum and must inform the Home officers of their decision.

3. Members ages 14-20 should vote by age groups for those whom they feel are best qualified to lead the discussion and must inform the Home officers of their decision.

a) If the Home's officers have an objection to either the topic or the person chosen to lead the discussion, they should endeavor to settle the matter with the age group that chose the topic or person. If the matter cannot be settled through counsel and prayer, it should be decided by a two-thirds majority of the Home's voting members.
         The teens and YAs can vote for who they would like to head the discussion, and they must inform the teamwork of their decision. You'll notice that there is a clause stating that, "If the Home's officers have an objection to either the topic or the person chosen to lead the discussion, they should endeavor to settle the matter with the age group that chose the topic or person." This is not to bottle up the teens and YAs and make them only discuss things that the teamwork wants them to discuss. But we must remember that it is the teamwork's responsibility to shepherd the Home, and if the teens decide they want to have an open forum discussion that is inappropriate--for example, on the benefits of heavy metal music--then the teamwork has the authority to object. Or if the teamwork feels the person that is chosen to head the meeting is not qualified to lead a discussion on a certain subject, the teamwork could object.
         In such a case, the teamwork should discuss their objections with the teens or young people. If prayer and discussion can't settle the matter, then a two-thirds majority should determine it.

         In order to foster open communication in the Home among the adults and teens, and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express their feelings and to raise questions they feel need to be addressed, each Home [could have an] ... open forum discussion ... [in which adults and young people could] participate, and each should feel the freedom to bring up any matters of concern on any subject they feel needs to be discussed, whether teen-related or not, such as finances, scheduling, personnel, witnessing, persecution preparation, etc. (ML #2865:75).

4. Members, ages 9-13, may put forth suggested topics for discussion in the open forums.
         The JETTs and OCs may suggest, but they can't demand, that particular topics be covered.

5. Some young people who participate in open forums may still need some personal time, so shepherds should put forth the effort to fulfil those needs.

J. Every member 18 years of age and above must have the opportunity to spend a sufficient amount of personal time with a Home officer or someone designated by the Home officers. "Sufficient amount" cannot be less than one hour per month.

1. The responsibility of adult personal time should be shared by all Home officers, or their designated representatives, but does not have to be divided equally among the Home officers.

a) Those 18 and over may request to have personal time with a specific Home officer.

2. Personal time may be divided up into two or more sessions.

3. It is permissible to have personal time simultaneously with two adults together if they agree to this.

         It is important for the teamwork or other shepherds to have heart-to-heart communication with those in the Home. Therefore every member age 18 and over must have the opportunity to have a minimum of one hour of personal time per month, with a Home teamworker, or someone the Home teamwork designates. The adult's preference of whom he or she wishes to have personal time with should be taken into consideration, though it may not always work out.
         The Home teamworkers don't have to divide adult personal time equally amongst themselves, but they all should be involved. The personal time does not have to be in one consecutive hour slot, but if necessary can be divided up into two or more sessions totaling one hour. If those involved are in agreement, then the shepherd can have personal time simultaneously with two people instead of one.
         Matters discussed in personal time should be treated as confidential information by the Home teamwork and should not be unnecessarily shared with others.

         Somebody, some way, has to be able to spend time with the individuals who need it.--You've got to have someone who can take the time to counsel with people and spend time with people and listen to them and pray for them and give them the help and solutions and guidance from the Word they need! You might say, "Well, that may be the ideal, but it's not very realistic." Well, I believe it's a necessity, therefore it can be a reality! (ML #2631:22.)
         People usually want to pour out, they usually want to talk. ... If you're interested in people and you love them, then you need to learn how to get them to come out of themselves and try to respond and to communicate. Communication is pretty important! It is what we do all the time, it's our job! (ML #1796:8.)

K. Homes must have a minimum of two family days per month (recommended weekly), on which resident children and their resident parents or guardians spend the day together.
         Family days, in which parents and their children who live in the same Home spend the day together, are a vital part of our Homes and are therefore required. We feel that it's best to have them on a
weekly basis, but requiring it weekly could be unrealistic. This would hamper road trips going out for more than six days, and other Home activities. Therefore, a minimum of two per month is required, though we recommend having them weekly when possible.

         Our own flesh-and-blood children are one of our greatest ministries, one of our most important ministries, and a ministry for which we'll be held responsible by both God and man! We must not fail in it, no matter how busy we are! (ML #110:25.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family