A novel idea! Instead of discussing processes, policies, procedures and updates, let's dream a little. Facilitated by the VP of Planning and Community Investment, we discussed - on a personal level - how we dream about our community. Here is how it flowed:
- What kind of a community do you want?
- Given those answers, what are the 2-3 most important issues or concerns when it comes to the community?
- Given our aspirations for the community, what do we want education to be like in our community?
- How will this (answer to #3) help us get the kind of community we want?
- Overall, how do you think things are going when it comes to education in our community?
- How do the issues on education we’re talking about affect you personally?
- When you think about these issues, how do you feel about what’s going on?
- What kinds of things are keeping us from having the education we want for kids?
- When you think about what we’ve talked about, what are the kinds of things that could be done that would make a difference?
- Thinking back over the conversation, who do you trust to take action on the issues you’ve been talking about?
- Now that we’ve talked about this issue a bit, what questions do you have about it?
It reminded me about a professor that I had in seminary who liked to consider the first words of the Gospel of John, "In the beginning was the Word..." as "In the beginning was the intimate conversation..." I found this very refreshing and a concept to which I could connect.
Intimate conversations, I found, connect me to others in a way that words do not. No wordy discussion about policies, procedures, or processes could have shown my how deep my colleagues' compassion runs for our community. No waterhole exchanges about new restaurants or coffee bars could have shown me my colleagues' fears of loss, pains of family dysfunction or perspectives of cultural upbringing. Intimate conversations do that.
And that, is the light that shines in the darkness.
What conversation have you had lately that shifted your connection to others?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5