9 Tips for Devotional Programs

Tip 1: Use publishing software

I recommend Microsoft Publisher – it’s relatively cheap and easy to use.

Tip 2: Use Bahá’í Search Software

I recommend Ocean.  It’s free and VERY comprehensive. You can download it at:  http://bahai-education.org/ocean/#download . Or you can download MARS for free at:  http://www.oc-bahai.org/crimson/index.php

Tip 3: Make your programs generic

Because we like to reuse our devotional programs, we do not put dates, locations, people’s names, or names of songs on our programs.  Instead of the name of a certain song, we might put just “musical selection”. This allows programs to easily be reused at another time or by another community.

Tip 4: Backup your programs

We lost a lot of programs because someone’s computer crashed, or someone moved, or a file got corrupted.  Backup your devotional programs.  That is the main reason we created this site. You can, of course, share your programs on this site.

Tip 5: Pick good readers, Pick diverse readers

It is very important that the readers in the program be able to read out loud well. It is ideal – though not always possible – to have these readers selected ahead of time. Moreover, it is wonderful to see the principles of unity in diversity, equality of the sexes, and participation of children and youth manifested in community devotions.

Tip 6: Include music

While I don’t recommend putting the name of the song in the program (it makes the program harder to reuse), I do recommend putting “music” or “musical selection” on the program.  This will ensure that you include a number of sing-a-longs or musical selections.

Tip 7: Have an MC

This makes the whole program go more smoothly.

Tip 8: Be mindful of your audience

Select passages and topics that will be appealing to your audience.

Tip 9: Keep it simple

Shorter passages are often more effective and powerful than longer passages, simple sing-a-longs are often as meaningful as listening to the Bahá’í World Congress Choir.  A devotional meeting doesn’t have to be complex to be spiritual.  Songs, prayers, and writings, are really all that are required.

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