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Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Paper and pens/pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Post blank newsprint.

Description of Activity

Participants focus on the role of congregational leader and name the parts of that role that they find stressful, energizing or both. If they belong to a leadership group working together, this activity provides an opportunity for participants to ask for specific supports to reduce some of the stress they experience in their leadership roles.

Draw a vertical line to divide the newsprint in half. At the top of one column, write "energizes/feeds me." At the top of the other, write "stresses/depletes me." Invite each participant to name one way in which the leadership work energizes or feeds them and one way in which it stresses or depletes them. Acknowledge that since we respond differently to situations, an item might appear in one column for one person and in the other for another. After each person who wishes to has named two items, ask for any items that belong somewhere between the two. Then ask if there are important items which have not yet been mentioned. Allow eight minutes for this part of the activity

If the participants do, in fact, work together as leaders (e.g., as members of a governing board), allow time for them to consider ways to increase the "energizing/feeding" experiences and decrease the "stressing/depleting" experiences. Guide them to identify specific ways the group might accommodate individual members' stated needs. If the participants do not currently work together in a congregational setting, distribute paper and pens or pencils and invite them to write down a few things that make it more rewarding and less stressful for them to hold a leadership role. Invite participants to share their list with a partner. Suggest they practice framing their list as requests for the specific supports they need to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in their leadership role. Leave a few minutes for pairs or the entire group to discuss ways a leadership team might be able to meet their needs for support.

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