HOW TO MAKE MYW YOUR OWN, AS YOU MUST,
THAT IS, WITHOUT KILLING IT.
By Ian Robinson
At MYW we are keen for you to create your own MYW leaders handbook, including the work sheets we have sent you and the sheets as you have amended them, including your own stories, notes, etc. How will you do this? Here is some help.
I have two questions and one statement.
First the statement: you MUST make MYW into something you really want to share, arising from your own experience and theology. You are not to try to be Ian Robinson.
First question: What are the distinctive values of MYW that should be preserved?
Second question: ask yourself, what are my key values that should be implemented?
It is most essential that you answer both these questions by reflecting on your experience of the MYW workshops themselves and your own experiences of sharing your faith with others. A theoretical view will only engender the same outlooks that have held us back for many decades. The wisdom of experience is required and a sincere awareness of the ‘magic’ that takes place when people interact on spiritual things (when the Great Spirit seems to operate freely).
What about a different use of words? That’s pretty easily fixed.
‘In our church we don’t say ‘x’ we say ‘xx.’’ Use your phrasing.
‘In our church we avoid that question, you know…’ OK there are several KEY questions in each exercise, use a different one or come up with one of your own.
Technically, you will have to use a programme to unpack the pdf format of the exercises and re-type it to make it your own. It can be as simple as copy and paste into a new document, then edit. Do this for your leader’s documentation as well as for participants pages if you are using them.
At a simple level, you need to find the stories that arise from your own experience and include them in each session. The session outlines usually state this explicitly. It is really easy in MY STORY, YOUR STORY, OUR STORY but gets harder in the more theologically acute area of THE STORY.So lets go there next.
Some of the whiteboards/frameworks may not work inside your head. Naming the importance of Jesus is a collaborative and creative exercise, the only problem will be people who insist on their own exclusive ‘right’ views, usually either for or against Jesus miracles/divinity. That is, the material rationalist philosophy acting as atheism, agnosticism or deism versus a variety positions accepting supernatural dimensions which may become present in space- time. MYW does not work with such exclusivists. It works for people in the broad middle ground of Christian orthodoxy, and most of its categories in feedback/whiteboards are biblical categories.
What about the FOUR QUESTIONS?
The problem of evil, the problem of hypocrisy, the problem of suffering, the problem of the cost. The frameworks used to sort out the questions have sometimes been difficult for others to pick up. It’s a matter of mind maps, personalities, personal emphases can be quite different. Well, I will explain a bit more about these in a moment, but for now, let’s say you tried to get your head around them and it just didn’t stick. use something else that works for you, and then let us all know by entering it on the whiteboards at the blogsites. If you do not into these areas at all, you will by default have reduced the task of Evangel to just MY STORY or OUR STORY and that is quite unbalanced.
Why are these questions and whiteboards the way they are? Why these boxes in that order?
· They do seem to be able to receive the input of most people. They are broad enough that everyone present can contribute to the creative whole. If you substitute, watch out for that.
· They are not really theoretical categories, but steps in action that you might be able to step through gently and respectfully in conversations with another:
The Suffering board starts with the silence and listening, but does not end there. IT sees the steps of hope and redemption unfold.
The Hypocrisy board starts with the admission that we all fail our own best intentions, it does not try to defend the church and does not avoid the wrongs we have done. Werall need to know to restore and change.
The Cost Board admits up front that discipleship is difficult but it is worth it. All good things are like that.
The Truth board sets out the four different fields of evidence that can be used in a discussion about proof or knowledge about Jesus. This is the closest one to theoretical knowledge but that is what this topic calls for – maybe a bit more reading on this will help you. This framework does not leave you just talking about your own journey but provides a frame in which you help another person to establish their own knowledge base.
If you can any of all that some other way I want to know about it. Seriously. I have used these successfully for so long that I can’t see it anymore. I need your help and feedback.
You are already aware that you can sequence the sessions any way you like. They are positioned in the order in the books because there is a gradual development implied. As you get used to them, you will develop favourites, but this must be moderated by expanding to other topics also, and finding ways to make these equally engaging.
Reminder. In the Leaders Notes, it warns the leader about saying too much or leading too little, and questions of authority which work differently in different cultures and traditions. Keep these in mind. You can preach or lecture or write your memoirs some other time, MYW is about empowerment, getting people talking and affirming their real discoveries. The ‘six questions to ask at the end of every session’ keeps bringing you back to this.
Keep in touch, help others, trust that what you are learning is really good value for others too.
Rev Dr Ian Robinson