A tale of two workers – an allegory of empowerment.

two men

Meet Mike and Peter. These two guys studied together, and have both recently started their new jobs. They both have the same training, the same skill set, and the same potential.

Mike is really happy with his new position. The boss seems like a great guy – intelligent and full of advice. He seems to know everything, the kind of guy who can talk for hours about any topic (and frequently does). He is willing to spend time telling Mike how to do his job well. He’s always quick to solve problems for Mike, and even takes over and does the work for him if Mike gets stuck. Mike has found a comfortable work environment and has settled in well. He doesn’t realise he is slowly being disempowered.

Peter’s new boss is also an experienced, intelligent kind of guy. He asks Peter for his advice and opinions. Continue reading

The medium is the message: preaching in church leads to preaching as outreach.

We learn more by imitating people than by listening to them. “Do as I say, not as I do”, say the hypocritical parents to their child. But they will find, again and again, that their children learn from their example, not from their lectures. This ability to learn by observing people is actually hardwired into us. Over 20 years ago, scientists discovered “mirror neurons” in monkey’s brains, that were activated both when a monkey performed an action itself or when it watched another monkey do the same thing. It’s where the saying “monkey see, monkey do” comes from. These brain cells allow us to learn by watching others. Modelling behaviour is far more effective than talking about it.

Think about the implications of this in most churches. On the front stage, as an example for everyone to follow, you will find the pastor and main speakers – professional, talented, persuasive communicators. They are often attractive and charismatic, and present a well-prepared message which answers the big questions of life with great confidence and a clever turn of phrase. They don’t hesitate or mumble or admit they just don’t know, and because of the lecture-style, monologue format, they don’t brook any argument.

This then, is the message to the congregation; Continue reading