by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director
Let’s say you’re the pastor sitting in a church council meeting, listening to several people present their views on a decision. After the decision is made, you say, “That was good.”
What if, instead, you said: “Let me tell you the five things I’m taking away from the way we made this decision.”
Which do you think has more impact?
Unleashing the value of what was accomplished together by reflecting on the conversation and action may be more important than the accomplishment itself. This is one of the most powerful acknowledgment and appreciation tools. People rarely state the value created by a conversation and therefore lose a wonderful opportunity to validate both the conversation and the individuals in it.
Or let’s say you’re the youth minister or adult who accompanies students on a summer trip. After the shared experience, you say, “That was meaningful.”
What if, instead, you said: “Here are the three most meaningful things that happened to me this summer. What were yours?”
Which do you think will help the young people find talking points to share their own reflections, help the parents understand what kind of questions to ask to deepen their conversations with their youth or help congregational leaders to understand the value of their financial investment?
Service Learning strategies have been around for a long time, teaching us that 80% of the learning is in the reflection. We can maximize the opportunity to make meaning, to make space for healing, or to encourage others to wonder about their own thoughts when we take time to reflect ourselves.
Let’s say you are thinking, “Sure, but who has time for this?”
What if, instead, you said: “I’m scheduling time to reflect because it may be more vital than the experience itself.”
By opening up space for reflection we are more likely to notice how God is moving and more likely to be able to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit already active beyond our busyness. Christian leadership is built on faith that this is most certainly true.