Monday, 18 October 2010

Mission Shaped Ministry reflections on the course

I said at the end of my previous post that I would blog some of my impressions of the local course.I should add that as I blog there is still 1 Saturday session left.

First of all we met in the excellent Trinity Centre,Meole Brace which was opened in the last couple of years and is a fantastic resource both for Meole Brace Parish Church and the local community. The fact that the centre is comfortable ,warm, light, with an excellent kitchen, and lots of parking nearby, made it a wonderful venue for the course.

The course makeup consisted of a, mostly monthly, 2 hour session on a Monday night augmented by some all day Saturday sessions, and 1 weekend away.

The length ,of the sessions was about right, though I confess I did leave early on 1 Saturday session to see Shrewsbury Town play- if that's the right expression!

The sessions were led by a whole variety of different people including the course organisers, though nearly all came from a Methodist or Anglican background ,which is reasonable, given the provenance of the course, and for a few Baptists like us ,it made the course quite refreshingly different.

The notes we were given were comprehensive and,( if you had the time,) well worth reading.
I am sure I shall refer to them many times in the future.
The delivery of the course, in all honesty, was very mixed. Some of the sessions were outstanding and were easy to give top marks on the ever present feedback forms.Others were much less inspiring and the odd one even, dare I say ,a little boring. I suppose this is to be expected on such a long course spread out over almost a year,delivered by so many diferent people.

Technology was also quite a struggle at times and I felt sorry for Mark, one of the course leaders, who was always trying to get something to work.He usually, but not always, found an answer.

The highlight of the course for me was the weekend away .I had gone with apprehension, rather than apathy, as I so much wanted it to be good, but feared it wouldn't be.
I need not have worried ,it was wonderful.
We went to Shallowford house a diocesan retreat centre with its own bar! It was great to get to know many others on the course,including the leaders Anne and Mark, much better , to share experiences and fellowship ,it was a weekend full of top teaching,,inspiring ideas,great food and a wonderful communion service on the Sunday morning.
The weekend alone for me would have made made the course worthwhile. The only change I would make would be to put it earlier in the course so that relationships could be built quicker.

In summary then my favourite bits;
The weekend away
The relationships built
Some of the sessions
The excellent course notes
Great food
Great venue
Some inspired ideas

I struggled with
One or two of the sessions ( One I simply didn't get at all -but others did -so it was probably me!)
Understanding the theology that underpinned the course

In conclusion a very helpful course with great opportunities to network with a load of different and interesting people who were working out what it means to be missional, some good content and some inspiring ideas.
it was very helpful to us as we plan new town centre ministries relevant to the 21st century

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