Sunday, July 31, 2011

Discussion Guidelines #1

James and JerrieMany discussions, classes, and meetings where there is conflict break up and/or become unproductive. It may be that the leader(s) did not know the value of guidelines.

Amos asked, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). We don’t have to agree on everything. But if we are going to travel together from Nashville, Tennessee, to St. Louis, Missouri, we must agree on some things: What time will we leave? What kind of transportation will we take? Who will drive? The clothes we wear and the food we eat along the way can be individual choice, but we must agree on the basics of the trip.

Often “family rules” are unconscious, unspoken, but understood. That means we rarely think about the rules, usually don’t discuss them, but people pay a price when they disobey them. It is my observation that it is better to have our rules conscious, spoken, and understood. Then we can evaluate them and change them if that would be helpful to the group: family, congregation, work group, or sports team.

I use a form of these guidelines any time I am leading a group: counseling, workshop, auditorium Bible class, preachers’ workshop stress session, congregation “Family Meeting,” or conflict resolution. Many conflicts arise because we are playing by different rules.

I will discuss the ideas behind the guidelines. James Jones introduced these concepts to me. I watched him in counseling sessions, classes, and leadership workshops. It was amazing how stress went down when I knew the boundaries. It was safe when I played by the rules and believed that others would do the same or be held accountable for not doing so.

These guidelines need to be negotiated–not commanded. Simply reading them to a group will not get buy-in. I like to discuss them and talk about why they contribute to group health. I take about ten minutes with a group where most of the people are familiar. I take about 1½ hours in doing a Saturday church meeting during a conflict intervention workshop.

…to be continued…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

50 Years

Shipps Bend GailI had a good two-day celebration of fifty years of preaching.  On the actual date, Saturday, June 18, John Parker and I spoke at an Interim Ministry Workshop at Freed-Hardeman.  We had a good group and appreciate the opportunity to share that information.

The next day, Sunday, June 19, I spoke at the second service at Shipp’s Bend church of Christ in Centerville, Tennessee, where I preached my first sermon fifty years ago.  My family:  Gail, Mother, children, and grandchildren were present.  In addition to the Shipp’s Bend members, several friends were also present.
Shipps Bend Ward and Idell
I was glad to have Ward and Idell Mayberry there.  They were our next-door neighbors when I was sixteen years old.  Ward was our preacher at Shipp’s Bend.  He took me hunting and fishing often.  On one of those hunting trips, he said, “When I am gone to National Guard camp this summer, would you be willing to preach one Sunday night?”.  I said I would.  A couple of months later he asked how I was coming on my sermon.  I had not started.  He said, “Come over and I’ll help you.”  He helped me with my sermon.  Idell typed the outline.  I preached that Sunday night and have not missed many Sundays since that time.  I appreciate them, and the thousands of people who have helped me since that time.

Collegeside gave me a fifty-year plaque my last day there.

I appreciate everyone’s encouragement.