Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some Reflections on our Passion For Life Events Week Mission with students from Oak Hill College

I might have more to say by the end of the week / after all the reports are in and Christianity Explored has finished but here are some initial thoughts so far:

(1) leafleting the entire parish and putting up many posters seems to have produced no one whatsoever coming to an event. If that is the aim, as I guess it was, the many person hours and the expense put into this were utterly wasted. I have stressed many times the crucial importance of personal invitations but I have been really struck by the utter uselessness of these traditional forms of advertising. Facebook has proved to be of some use.

(2) Small events can be good. If the hall doesn't cost too much and isn't too vast and a certain number of customers are not needed for an event to work it is quite easy and risk free to put on a good, useful, enjoyable event. 4 teams of 6 are enough for a quiz night, for example. 20 people can get together to watch a film and discuss it. 10 people could come to a grill a Christian / Any Questions evening. Events which could cope with an unknown number between 10 and 100 where pre=booking is not essential are valuable.

(3) There is value in an outside team for freshness, interest, maybe youth, energy, conviction. Our team have been brilliantly charming, helpful, can-do and encouraging. They have been flexible and laid back without being careless or casual and confident without being brash. People have enjoyed just chatting to them and significant conversations have taken place. It has been really good to have them staying in different places and eating with different people even if it has presented some logistical challenges. 

(4) A mission can really benefit regular church members.

(5) There are things (perhaps like some of the above) one can learn by having a go at stuff.

(6) Perhaps even your most keen people are unlikely to come to everything as some people might in say a student mission but some people may come back more than once. A concentrated series of events can have a certain sort of momentum though numbers might be higher if events are well spaced out.

(7) Sunshine helps morale and makes life so much easier for kids work

(8) A holiday club can be quite relaxed and informal in parts. The helpers need not pre-prepare much. Sporty games can work well. Music on a CD or laptop can be fine. A double act upfront can be fun.

(9) People enjoy going up the church tower and that isn't hard to organise. Paper planes and teddy bear parachutes can work.

(10) Screwing down some of the admin to the Nth degree is worthwhile - e.g. hosts need numbers and timings of meals confirmed in advance. Last minute changes of plan are not great.