Activity 4: Your Congregation's Systems
Activity time: 40 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 1, System Thinking - Guidelines for Leaders
- Newsprint, markers (four different colors) and tape for each small group
Preparation for Activity
- Make sure all participants have Handout 1, introduced in Activity 3.
- Prepare, but do not post, a sheet of newsprint with these questions:
- Does system thinking point us to any larger questions that your leadership and congregation might want to address?
- Has something unbalanced the system?
- What are the management questions? What are the leadership questions?
- What might be some next steps for the leadership and the congregation to take?
Description of Activity
Have the group brainstorm challenges or issues facing their congregation(s) and select two or three to examine from a systems perspective. Invite participants to form groups of four to six to address the issue that most interests them.
Invite the groups to examine their congregational issue from a system perspective, using the process for Heavenly Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Activity 2. Tell groups they have 10 minutes to represent on newsprint everyone affected, directly or indirectly, by the issue, the relationships between the parties, and the emotions involved in those relationships.
After ten minutes, post the newsprint you have prepared with questions. Invite the groups to consider those four questions and to write their responses on newsprint. Allow 15 minutes for this part of the activity.
Now, ask groups to post their diagrams and responses and share their discoveries with the large group. Engage the large group in making plans to continue the conversations and seek ways to move forward on these issues.