Where do they recruit?
Their main objective is to recruit people from other Christian congregations, to coerce them to leave those churches, and to integrate them into their own group. They intentionally go into church youth groups, to events, and into smaller Christian prayer and Bible study groups. In Austria, they first targeted Catholic and nondenominational locations. After expanding into countries with Protestant majorities, that is no longer the case, but rather they go into all available Christian groupings. Relevant data (times and places of meetings) are strategically gathered. Sometimes they phone the church office directly, feign interest, and ask about the meetings.
Another favorite method is advertising on the margins of large church events. They are regularly found at Taizé meetings, evangelism gatherings, papal visits, church festivals, Protestant and Catholic conventions, as well as youth gatherings and youth pilgrimages. Large numbers of religiously interested people are found there, but the individual seeker disappears in the more or less anonymous masses. That individual is thankful to be noticed, and welcomes a conversation partner with whom he can talk about his questions. The Holic Group members offer themselves as such conversation partners, i.e., they address people who seem to be religiously seeking or interested. Occasionally they give the appearance of being part of the event’s organizing team. At evangelism event, where the Holic Group carried signs, to the casual observer, the signs looked deceptively similar to those carried by the event’s official counselors.
For a long time outreach to atheists was unheard of. The group recruited almost exclusively as a freeloader or parasite among other Christian communities.
The first signs of a change were in 2001, when it was reported in Dresden that Holic members appeared repeatedly in cafés. They seated themselves at tables where young people were already sitting, and attempted to engage them in spiritual conversations, which then morphed into the familiar recruitment attempts. Since 2001, as well, they’ve repeatedly done recruiting in various places with handwritten or computerprinted photocopied tracts. From their appearance, these printed materials continue mainly to address Christians.
In some of them, e.g., it says:
ARE YOU SEARCHING …
FOR MORE THAN THIS WORLD CAN OFFER YOU?
We’d like to talk with you!
(We are Christians without institution or organization, who want to live in this world according to the example of Jesus.)
Meeting Place: … (usually somewhere outdoors, in a park)
Or phone: 0179-1509427
IS THERE SOMEONE HERE LOOKING FOR GOD?
Or are you seeking someone with whom you can share your faith or talk about the most important questions in life? We are Christians without institution or organization, who want to live together according to the role model and teaching of Jesus.
than the constant rat-race from one empty pursuit to another.
Jesus said: “If the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
We are friends who share this insight, and also our entire lives
with each other – without organization, without leaders.
Birgit, Timo, Andrea …
Usually a cell phone number or an email address is given. Generally, there’s no street address (so that the reader can’t see the location and the people there from a distance), and only the first name of the cell phone owner is given. These advertisements are freely posted in neighborhoods and in places frequented by young people (e.g., around a university).