One of the more common “creative” methods I see used is that of the panel discussion. Panel discussions have the potential to be very good, but they also possess the greatest danger (well, next to mime perhaps) of being a big flop if done poorly. They make me nervous because I know the preparation necessary to make them work.
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I’ve recommitted myself to a rule of practice: Speaking my talks out loud before I speak in public. It’s a discipline that I saw my dad, a pastor, do every Saturday as he “practice-preached” to the garden plants while he weeded or he went over to the church to preach to the pews. So, early in my ministry days I took on that practice as well and found it very helpful.
One of the most popular posts on the website was my first idea for a game to play (and it’s a good one!) at a marriage retreat. Since it’s Valentine’s day, I thought I’d post another one for those who are running similar events. These questions are a bit different from the first one, so I’ve provided a couple of alternative ones at the bottom and you can use whichever ones you like best.
The game idea is based off the old Newlywed Game Show, which means you’ll need to act (and dress?) like a game show host…. and you’ll need an assistant writing down the answers in marker on decent-sized poster board. Once you learn how the game runs, this format is a great opening to have some fun, build repoire, and get to know some people from your group. The format ‘works’ so if you think any of these are lame, feel free to edit/add your own! read more…
I recently served as a guest-presenter in a seminar titled “Writing for Youth Ministry” at the National Youth Workers Convention in Dallas, Texas. Ginny Olson, publisher for Youth Specialties (Zondervan print) was the speaker, but she asked David A. Zimmerman (Editor at InterVarsity Press) and me to join her speak about writing for the niche market of youth ministry and how the writing business is changing. And, wow, is that business changing!
Ginny and I did a similar seminar in San Diego earlier where we detailed the amount of work that an author has to do to first sell his/her book idea to an agent or editor. We followed that by discussing what is required of authors to then promote the books and how publishing companies will usually invest very little, if any at all, to market the books beyond their sales distribution. In fact, more than ever, nonfiction authors (unless they’re known well) have to make the case to publishing companies that they will market a book well.
At a recent conference I attended, one of the speakers shared how engineers at some universities receive an iron ring upon graduation. Supposedly started by Canadian Herbert Haultain in 1922, the engineers are told the ring symbolizes the reality that if they don’t do their jobs well, people will die. For Canadians at the time, the memory of the Quebec bridge collapses were fresh in their mind. Finished in 1907, it collapsed due to poor engineering work, killing 75 people. Re-engineered and rebuilt, it collapsed again in 1917, killing 11 more people.
Which made me think: What happens to people when I don’t do my job well?
People fear the introduction of technology into education and its classrooms. However, perhaps its ability to deliver content will free instructors to teach, challenge, develop, and shape thinking in new ways… the way that used to characterize teaching. Think about it: Much of traditional teaching has been the ‘banking’ method (Paulo Freire) – where the instructor has this information and by talking nonstop for 50 minutes, supposedly deposits it in the students’ minds. And whether real learning has happened is anyone’s guess.
So, to challenge our fears a bit, read this blog and then watch this video:
It’s striking how quickly we fall into a rut, especially in our teaching. And how soon in life we begin to fashion a small box within which we want to live life. It’s safer inside and we’re more able to control what we can amidst a changing world. Seth Godin wrote about one aspect of that world, that people today (thanks to technological changes) are more ready to change than ever before. Now, whether changing technology devices is substantive change or not is up for debate (marketers like to overstate), but he concludes his article with this advice: Amaze, Delight and Challenge. And that’s worth considering.
As teachers, leaders, youth workers, supervisors, and even parents, how quickly have we gotten into a box, a ‘rut’ of routine that has not amazed or delighted anyone in recent memory?