Tuesday, October 09, 2012
So, here's how yesterday worked. 2 weeks ago, we received an email with two questions to answer. We answered them (or at least I assume that most people answered them).
Then yesterday we were presented with four insights from those aggregated answers. An insight is, by the Twist definition, a sort of problem to be solved, which will lead to ideas. An insight statement is something like "I want to collaborate with other people, but I'm uncertain/anxious about how to know that someone in a cafe might be open to conversation, or how to just start talking to a stranger." So the insight is that there are some barriers to conversation, and we need a way to pull those down.
We self-selected into groups to work on each insight (ONE issue per group!). In these groups, a facilitator reminded us of the issue at hand and offered one potential idea, then asked for conversation on that idea. It quickly morphed into something else, which the facilitator worked with--she said "okay, let's imagine what that would look like--how would it work?" and we moved forward with that. Each person listened and responded and wondered out loud. Eventually we came back to the original idea, but in a different way, to be added to the new idea, and soon we were off and running on a whole set of practical ways to make it work. The facilitator didn't push, didn't monopolize, and didn't offer any ideas at all beyond the first potential idea. She just kept us working toward "what would that look like?" and "how would that work?" and "what issues would keep us from making this happen?" and "what kind of funding might that require?" etc. In other words, she did not let us stagnate in the idea formation stage, but pushed us to be practical within what felt like just minutes of coming up with an idea.
The church applications of this are probably obvious to anyone who's ever been in a church meeting. For the rest of you...well, let's just say that Presbyterians didn't get the nickname "Frozen Chosen" for the worship (despite popular belief), but for committee structure.
What would church meetings be like if they followed this model--solicit information, leaders distill it to a few insights, come up with one potential idea for each insight, and then the group works on each thing without the "leader" interjecting between every thought, but instead pushing the group to think broadly but then specifically--rather than letting us get bogged down in the what-ifs, or settling in at the thousands-of-ideas-no-follow-through stage? Because if we push to practical follow-through, it will quickly become clear what can and can't work, without anyone needing to say "that'll never work." A few of the ideas that popped up yesterday ended up dying on the page when we started thinking about the HOW--because they were far too complicated for distribution, for instance. But a new idea always came up to take its place, because the ground was fertile and not trampled down by a leader insisting we do it one way, or the way previous things had been done, or whatever.
The overall experience, then, was one of nurture and excitement and sparks and...well, creativity! It felt good to be part of that group, and to know that in less than an hour, ideas can be had, fleshed out, and put into play.
Maybe if church were more like that, more of us would want to go to meetings. And fewer "young people" would drop off the radar and drift toward other avenues because nothing ever happens in our frozen-chosen church.