In the last few posts we have taken a look at various unconference theories and methods. I wonder if you’ll undulge me to share a few ideas on how all this could be used by churches?
Many of my thoughts on this have come from a document by Tree Bresson on transformational conferences which can be found HERE.
For me, church holds many of the same frustrations that conferences do. Mainly; too much time listening to someone at the front, not enough time to discuss what you’ve heard, no time to hear stories of people’s experience and no clear structure to follow up on what’s happened at the event / service.
So what can we do about it? Here’s a few ideas on bringing some creativity back to the process.
1. What are your goals? how are you going to get there? – too many churches are drifting /coasting because they have not set themselves any goals.
2. Consider ‘Expert’ time vs participatory time – how long do you spend listening to someone up front compared to discussing with those around you? An opening presentation can inspire and get everyone on track. Beyond that, it is
people’s heartfelt, engaged participation that is going to make the difference to the success of the
issue you care about as convenor.
3. Can you replace a traditional form of presentation with something more participatory? Contextual bible study for example greatly reduces the need for an ‘expert’ as everyone’s opinion is equally valid and everyone can share.If you do feel the need to present from the front – can you incorporate ‘pause for pairs’ or ‘small group sharing’ as part of that presentation time slot?
4. please consider whether the story is enough in itself – do we really need a 45 minute exergesis. If something does need explaining, can it be done in 5 minutes? can it be done with a cool animation? can it be done in small groups? can it be done by the youth group leading everyone else? can it be better explained though art or dance or theatre? Can this best be explored by people sharing their own experiences?
5. FOOD – i’m going to write more on this. There is not enough decent food at conferences and definately not enough food at church. Jesus spent most of his time in boats, sitting in gardens and EATING.