HOW TO ARRANGE FOR A WORKSHOP

Let’s say you have been asked by a neighbouring group to lead them in MYW exercises or a Wonder Workshop. How can you go there where you do not people and do that well?

Be warned: In my experience a lot of groups say they would like that sort of help, and then do nothing about it, two people show up (the organiser and her dog) and it is all together a frustrating exercise for all concerned. The following tips may help.

When making arrangements to lead a workshop, check through these things thoroughly with the local organisers. Here I will assume it is a local church, so if it is another group, make the appropriate ‘translations’.

1. Has a decision been made, including who is the local organiser? Or is this a tentative enquiry about what might be involved? Have they seen the leaflet "How to Organise a MYW workshop", in this Leaders Manual or on the website? Are they wanting to vary anything that is suggested there? Do they have any queries?

2. Are the elders and the minister themselves coming? Who is being invited to come? How are they being invited? Are they being approached personally? Can you prepare lists for personal phone invitation? Do not rely on printed publicity. Don’t refer to MYW as another option to add to their lives. Talk about it as a step forward, something we can all gain from, and something we all need to become confident about if the church is to be who we really are into the future. Already in people’s minds before you speak there is fear of being found wanting or a dread of bible-bashing or of another churchy programme which in the real world is irrelevant. The proof will be in the pudding.

3. Maximum of 25, minimum of 8 people. Some one is going to ask whether they can only come for part of the workshop. That will be OK, though not ideal. The whole workshop is composed of a number of exercises, and anyone coming to any one of them will gain something from that one. (I would appreciate it on the day if I knew in advance and if they did not leave part way through a session.) Better to come and gain something than stay away and get nothing.

4. What equipment is needed? It is better to be seated NOT in a church sanctuary, but in a room as relaxed as possible. As facilitator I should be on the same level, not on a stage. I need either a whiteboard at least 6x4feet or a projector screening at least 6x6feet. Let me know which it is and I will bring pens and slides. The room should be comfortable with individual chairs not long pews set in a semi circle of one or more rows , not in straight lines like a bus. Can I have a helper?

5. What hours exactly do you have at your disposal at this event? If they say we have 7-9pm, you do not have two hours. Time will be lost for local catch ups, latecomers, teas, washing up, announcements, worship, e.tc. You do not have to have long morning and afternoon breaks, but be informed if the local group considers that they do.

6. There is a follow up to be organised after six weeks. Can we set the tentative date within the overall church calendar and then check in with participants?

7. Ask for participants to register in advance by name, and set a manageable financial fee according to local custom/need, say $20 per person clear for three sessions (In Australia the red twenty dollar note has the pictures of two leading christians on it!), plus a cost for catering. Why involve money? Two reasons. First, a facilitator may not be paid by some other means for doing this sort of work – they are ‘worthy of their hire’ as scripture says (and believe me, they won’t get rich doing this)! I was told some years ago by a senior corporate trainer that the MYW workshop that he was enjoying was of a standard to command a fee of $2000 per person per day. It puts $20 into perspective, doesn’t it. Churches almost never pay commercial rates, so I suggest they take THEIR usual ‘visiting preacher’s fee’, given when they come to lead a one hour service, and use that as their measure. SO, if we are holding a six-hour workshop, charge six times the normal preacher’s fee. Crude but measured.

Secondly, travelling costs for the facilitator are to be borne by the congregation where the workshop is to be held. Agree on this rate, which at its most basic is roughly twice the actual fuel cost, in order to cover servicing and vehicle on-costs. There may be some travel and copying expenses, possibly accomodation. All costs will be underwritten by the congregation, who takes the responsibility of any shortfall. If there is a surplus, you may care to donate it to MYW (through the website-Paypal), and we will use it for those places where there is a shortfall. In this way we are helping each other to move forward.

8. It is good if the local group can appoint a hospitality-helper or two – to set up the room, take registrations and tidy up after breaks and/or lunch. In this way both you and the participants can just get on with the work. This person may be one who is interested to help but not ready to be a participant.

9. Feedback/evaluation sheets should be distributed at the end of the workshop (see the form in this Manual). The facilitator will read them very soon after, and within one week will report them to the local church leaders, pointing out any requests for further action. Remind them that these requests are now in their hands. Then send to MYW.

10. Say to the organiser ‘Please put this workshop as a prayer point in your church notice sheet. Can you ask your praying-people specifically to make the workshop a matter of daily prayer. Will you (coordinator) personally do the same? I too will be in prayer for you. Don’t hesitate to contact me about anything you find you are wondering about.’

11. Near to time set for the follow-up meeting, call the local coordinator to see what they are going to do next. If it has all fallen over, name it, and discuss how to go forward.

Many people find one or two of these points hard to discuss, especially the money. Some organisers find it too hard to get down to details. If so, put it in a physical letter, using these eleven points as your basis. You may find you will need to educate the local church in what is involved in something like this.

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