The other day I was invited to make a contribution to a course at Tabor College in Community development. I’ve been talking to the course coordinators, Mark Riessen and Joanna Hubbard about what they would like me to bring into the classroom.
I suggested that I could offer the group some practical tools for working the group. Most leaders I know have can’t name their group work skills. They are unaware of the limited skills that they already have. Typically they have three.
- Preaching – a one way didactic tool that is near useless for community ministry.
- The committee meeting – where politics and voting meet. 🙁
- Hosting a Bible Study. This hosting skill has us both listening and talking to each other as both individuals and the group. This I think is the most useful and transferable skill into community ministry.
So I left college with three group work tools. I had no idea that there are actually many group work skills / tools. At Uniting Communities we ‘do group’ – which means a structured meeting with textas white boards and plenty of group conversations. This use to be new and interesting but now it is the common way of doing group business. It has become part of us (like the committee meeting once was). People in Christian ministry need to be able to lead group work, and not just leave it to the clever consultants who come in, do their thing and then leave. Do group well and you can build a group which is interested in a deeper commitment to your mobs mission – whatever that may be. We need to steal the skills from the consultants and those who know how to facilitate group. Welcome to the Ministry of Theft!