I’m back with my occasional roundup of online articles, news, resources, ideas and events about forming and educting lifelong disciples in mission.
Just a heads-up to say that I’m reviving my Growing Disciples Scoopit page shortly. This is a 4-6 weekly page of ideas, resources, articles and media from around the WWW related to formation, education, discipleship and mission. I’ll continue to post blogs here about my own stuff.
I’m revisiting some of my thesis writing around improvisation and innovation. There’s a great article by Deborah J. Kapp called “Improvisation and the Practice of Ministry”. It’s from the Journal of Religious Leadership 9, no. 1 (2010): p35-57 and available here. I recommend reading the article.
I’ve lifted a bunch of quotes from it (tweaked a couple to make them standalone sentences) and going to make a set of cards of posters. I look forward to using them in discussions with church leaders.
The unpredictability of ministry makes it partly improvisational.
The capacity to improvise is an essential component of effective leadership.
Improvisation is inherently emergent and collaborative.
The process of improvisation is more important than the product.
One has to risk sounding or looking stupid in order to improvise and discover something new.
One’s willingness to risk fosters improvisation and creativity.
To nurture improvisation, groups and organisations must foster the aesthetics of imperfection.
Improvisation is a collaborative process of social construction.
Improvisation in organisations is often instrumental rather than aesthetic in purpose.
Improvisation occurs in the intersection of structure and uncertainty.
Improvisation in organisations is built on strong institutional memory and repretoires of action which operate in the context of organisational instability.
Collaborative improvisation requires a base of shared experience and a mutual understanding of the rules.
Ministers and other religious leaders do not necessarily have wide zones in which to manouevre when they improvise.
Organizations that support improvisation and other forms of innovation are ones that nurture reflective practitioners, tolerate mistakes and welcome creativity, communicate effectively, and support collaborative teams.
Reflective practice is often experimental. The cycle of framing, experimentation, learning, and reframing is a continuous one for reflective practicioners.
Effective improvisation requires the capacity to listen and incorporate the insights and work of others.
Improvisation is less an individual gift than it is a collaborative exercise.
OK, so I just made a card set of these.
In a Facebook forum, I’ve started posting quotes from Sara Little’s classic book To Set One’s Heart: Belief and Teaching in the Church, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1983. Sara was Professor of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and completed her PhD at Yale studying under Richard Niebuhr. Since the Facebook posting is going to bet too lengthy, I thought I’d transfer it over here.
This was a textbook from my Master’s in Religious Education in the mid-80’s and remains very formative for my understandings.
Here are the two quotes posted:
“Ministry is a form of service, a person’s response of gratitute to God’s gracious action and being. Therefore teaching is always done as a responsive activity, it is never a matter of seeking control. What the teacher does is also to seek truth, to risk giving expression to what is percerived, but always in such a manner that the freedom of the student is not obstructd. Neither teacher nor student creates truth, nor is free to flout it. Theirs is a freedom to come to know it, to exercise all powers of intellection and volition and understanding in responding to it.”
“Belief is not the same thing as thought, and believing is not the same thing as thinking. But thought is surely a major component in belief, as belief is in faith. Note that belief is multi-layered, that it has affective (feeling), volitional (willing) and behavioural (acting) components, as well as cognitive (thinking). … Our “belief” is closer to what Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett meant with his reference not to “ideas which we have but ideas which we are.” In fact the term “credo”, translated from the creeds as “I believe,” literally means “I set my heart.”
From here, the next part becomes a bit harder to just lift sentences from, so let me summarise as well as quote.Continue Reading