“Five Steps in Developing Your Congregation” was recently facilitated at Bhaktivedanta College by Kripamoya Dasa. Kripamoya Dasa is the congregational development supervisor for the south U.K., overseeing the preachers who care for more than twenty congregational groups. This was one of the College’s vocational courses, which means it was open to temple and congregational members as well as students in the nine-month ministerial program.
Over the five-day course, he shared from his extensive experience in congregational development. His approach was candid, as he identified ISKCON’s successes and mistakes during thirty years of preaching in the UK. His course took into account ISKCON’s existing programs of congregational development and some programs from other organizations, both religious and secular. Kripamoya discussed methods for contacting potential new devotees and cultivating them. He provided students with practical instructions and strategic plans for congregations of 100 to 200 or more members.
His course was attended by a variety of devotees, one of whom was Guru Padma Dasa, a nama-hatta leader in Maastricht (Holland). Guru Padma is the congregational preaching coordinator for nine nama-hatta centers in the Benelux, and with his wife, Gokula Vrindavana Dasi, has been leading programs for temple devotees and congregational members since 1984. When asked about the course, he said, “Kripamoya’s practical experience and realisations are so wonderful that he should give this course all over the world. This would benefit all of ISKCON.”
One element that particularly inspired Guru Padma was Kripamoya’s conviction that it is necessary for all devotees to take some part in preaching activities. Guru Padma restated Kripamoya’s advice: “One has to have a desire to spread Krishna consciousness. If one has a desire, then Krishna will help.” Furthermore, he stressed the need to find balance in our lives by integrating academic pursuits and introspective growth with tangible engagement in spreading Krishna consciousness. Guru Padma is enthusiastic to implement Kripamoya’s strategies in his own groups.
In the evenings, Kripamoya gave a series of talks, revealing advice for sustaining a Krishna conscious marriage. This is also a field in which, as a husband for twenty years and father of three children, he has extensive experience.