Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dorothy on Leadership

Recently Callie, Nettes & I went to see the Wizard of Oz at the mac with our church’s midweek house-group.. at the weekend!

The colour sequences were amazing to see on the big screen. They have cleaned up very nicely. Callie was a bit scared of the Wicked Witch but I think she really enjoyed it. She recognised 'Somewhere over the rainbow' as we had just been watching a performance by Tori Amos on YouTube

Interestingly enough I was just stuck by what this film has to say on the topic of ‘leadership’.

Don’t be like the Wizard who is threatening and makes a show of his power but is really a little man hiding behind a curtain.

Who should we be like then?

Dorothy of course.

What a teenage girl as a model of leadership? A girl that is bewildered and lost in a world that appears to make no sense to her?

Yes. You see Dorothy doesn’t pretend to know any more than she does. She has been told that the Wizard may be able to help and that the yellow brick road leads to the Wizard’s emerald city. She is on a journey herself and invites others to join her, because if the Wizard might be able to help her, he might - just might - be able to help others too.

Perhaps we could all do with being a bit more like Dorothy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Children's Work Conference

Yesterday, Nettes and I drove down to Dunstable for a Children’s Workers Conference which asked some hard hitting questions like ‘Have you read your church’s child protection policy?’ and ‘How does your church engage the children in worship while they are in the main meeting?’

Guest speaker John Hardwick stressed the value of keeping families together on Sunday. I thought that he did a good job pointing out an important key getting all ages involved: story-telling. Stories can work on many levels teaching deep principles and keeping us entertained at the same time. He encouraged us to think of creative ways to tell Bible stories, such as imagining a story from many perspectives, as well as including other creative elements such as hot-spot interviews, action memory verses and even BSL signing. He also suggested having a planning team for All Age Services that included all ages i.e. at least one child.

Sam Donohue from Viz-a-viz talked about his work doing school assembles, RE lessons and after-school clubs. I liked the way that he explained the importance of not coming over too dogmatic by having class discussions and prefixing your statements with ‘I believe....’ and ‘Some Christians think....’ etc. I thought this was a good point for generally for chatting with your friends too. Interestingly he thought that using items that the church finds cringe-worthy and hackneyed, like drama sketches and puppets, could work well in mission work with kids who are seeing them for the first time.

A good day albeit tiring.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Tipping Point

This week I mentioned to my students one of my presents over Christmas a little book that I read avidly called The Tipping Point

It’s an interesting book about how changes can occur in our society very suddenly with apparently little effort. The drop in the New York crime rate that was brought about by zero tolerance on minor crime such as vandalism is a case in point. The book identifies three rare types of people who are influential in such changes: ‘Connectors’ who at the hubs of social networks, ‘Mavens’ who are knowledgeable about the issue and ‘Salesman’ who will persuade people, consciously and unconsciously, to make the change. As such it is a good discussion of minority influence. There is also plenty of other psychology such as a discussion of the bystander effect. There is a chapter on pro-social media influence that looks at how people have communicated such ideas in memorable ways.

Incidentally, one idea in this book is that 150 is a maximum number of people that an individual can have a genuine relationship. Apparently this is taking off in Christian circles as a good size for a church to spit.

An excellent book, highly recommended.