Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults

Activity 5: Power

(25 minutes)


  • Newsprint, markers, and wall-safe tape
  • Handout 2, Types of Power
  • Pens and pencils
  • Participants’ copies of Handout 1, Five Smooth Stones, from Activity 4


  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • Write on newsprint, but do not post: “Power is the ability to achieve purpose,” from a 1967 sermon by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Post a sheet of blank newsprint and invite participants to brainstorm words, phrases, concepts, and people they associate with “power.” Record their responses. After five minutes, or when the newsprint is full, ask participants to look at the whole list and offer comments and observations. Overall, how can they characterize this list of what they associate with “power”?

Post the quote from Dr. King, and read it aloud. Ask how many items on the brainstormed list can be included in this definition of power.

Note that this quote does not assign any value to the “purpose” one wishes to achieve. Invite participants to consider what “purpose” congregational leaders wish to achieve. Allow time for responses and discussion.

Distribute Handout 2 and writing implements. Invite participants to read the handout and to make note of which types of power congregational leaders can exercise. Encourage them to jot examples in the margins of the handout. Allow participants about 10 minutes to work alone. Then, invite them to form triads. Tell them they will have five minutes to discuss how congregational leaders can exercise power in ways that are in line with the values of our faith, using Handout 1 and Handout 2 as references.

After five minutes, reconvene the large group. Invite participants to share any insights or ideas they are mulling.