Tonight saw a vision being fulfilled. Susan and I started talking about the idea last fall, after she attended the Canadian Willow Creek Leadership Summit and she bought the DVDs. We watched several of them one morning with our team of leaders at work and they were SO good; such valuable teaching.
Since we have no Sunday night service, we had the thought of using that time to share the 8 DVD's over 8 weeks, and then continue with other DVD sets.
So we put a proposal to our church board and it was accepted. Susan made some excellent posters advertising it and put an ad on our local Christian radio station. The weeks went by--and tonight we began, with Bill Hybels and a talk on Five Critical Questions.
There were just 12 of us tonight. A small start, but lots of discussion, and Susan and I are so excited.
Our son Pete suggested the name Catalyst for the evenings. We loved it and adopted it.
I have a vision for people who have no connection with church coming to hear the material on leadership development and finding a bridge to Christ. We have yet to promote it really well in the community, but we have only just begun.
If anyone in the area of Tottenham is reading this and would like to attend, we meet from 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm. Next week's session is by Dr. Henry Cloud, speaking on: The Evil, the Foolish and the Wise.
Speaking of leadership development, I have a note book at work that goes with me everywhere. I number the pages and at the back of the book I have an index, so that if I attend a meeting on a certain date, I can easily find the notes on that meeting in my note book. It's not just meetings that I take notes on, and if you were to look in the index, you would see and entry that says: "What I learned from a big mistake"....Page 71. I look in the index infrequently enough that every time I've seen that entry, I've forgotten what the bad mistake was, and have had to turn to page 71 to remind myself. So I have reinforced my learning several times, which is a very good thing!
The whole entry involves other people so I can't share it all here, but it unfolded after a meeting where I had been facilitating a discussion. Susan stayed afterwards to help me tidy up.
"I thought that meeting went well," I said to her, "what did you think?"
"Yes, it was a good meeting," Susan said, "but...." And she shared some things I had been oblivious to.
And so my self satisfied bubble popped. Susan and I sat down in the wing backed chairs and she filled in my blind spots so well that every minute I felt worse about how far off course I'd been in my appraisal of "how things had gone."
I made a phone call, apologized profusely in a voice mail message and then had coffee with someone I had inadvertently disrespected. The person also apologized for putting me on the spot at one point, and I apologized for EVERYTHING, because by now I fully appreciated how wrong I'd been.
There were many things I learned from the whole wretched experience, which mercifully was easily put right with a little humility (which I seem to get plenty of practice in.)
Among the things I learned were these three things on facilitating a discussion:
1) Stick to the process and allow it to unfold without jumping to decisions too quickly.
2) Don't make quick assumptions or draw quick conclusions.
3) Ask forgiveness quickly when you realize that something went wrong.
I think the source of my passion for leadership development is an awareness that I never stop learning, and a desire to lead and grow with others.
One of the definitions of a catalyst is: "Someone or something that helps bring about a change." No wonder we are excited.