Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Blah, blah, blah - The Art of Communication!

Communication. It's been taking up my thoughts recently. Whether it's bloggin, tweeting, website, emails, Sunday airtime at church, interviews on film, remembering what to say to which team. It has become a significant part of my work. So I am asking - Are we getting our message out? Who is on the other end? It is surprising how much is dependant on the power of the written word!

I want communication that delivers both the information but also empowers people to do something in response. I love writing this blog although some ideas require more work than others to get a finished blog. Recently I started a fortnightly email newsletter that does 3 things - it describes what has been happening, what is coming up and One story/issue. There are currently 80 people on the mailing list. If you would like to receive it, please email requesting the newsletter.

Whilst I do have a Twitter account until I get a mobile device that allows me to use it on the go I will not be Twittering.

In preparation for the 10 year celebration in October I am due to start filming people telling their stories of the last 10 years. Hopefully this will be a great resource but will be especially useful for the dignitaries event on the 6th October and the Sunday event on the 9th October, especially useful now that King's meets on 3 sites. If you have filming or editing skills that you can offer to the JRP please let me know.

Have you seen the Feast video we did last Autumn in preparation for the sale of Christmas Trees? For some reason I can't get the link to connect here - such are the joys of bloggin! Also because I have now attempted to get the link to this blog, the text has become one text rather than being spaced out with paragraphs and I've lost the spell check. In fact all I can do is type so I'll stop before the blog completely crashes!)

So communication, it's not as easy as it looks!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Managing the team at the bottom of the table.

As the football leagues in England come to an end, lots of soul searching takes place for managers. Well that or Owners simply fire their manager who a matter of weeks, months and occasionally years ago they were convinced were the best thing for their club. 'He's the right man to take this club forward' quickly becomes 'He's taken the club as far as he possible can'. However this manager then becomes the best man for another job and so it goes on.

Another mystery of football talk is that people seem surprised that there is a club at the bottom of the table. The has always been, is now, and will always be a team who occupy the bottom place in the league. That is how a league works! One of the managers will be at the bottom. Well this year it was my turn to be the manager who was bottom of the table. It was the 1st year that Lewisham Lionhearts had run an under 14's team. For a few years now we have had an under 11's team playing in the South London Church League, last year we won the cup and finished mid table in the league. And this year we had a team in the under 14's league.

We had a very young team, mostly year 7's, playing in a league for years 7, 8 and 9. So we have got 2 more years to enjoy playing at this level. The players have made great progress in the year but being a young team brings it challenges, we were often shorter, slower, less fit, not able to pass as far, not able to shoot as hard. All in all we had a big challenge!

The highlight was seeing players respond with great attitude, working hard for the team and the low light was (twice) trying to find a way to inspire the team when we are getting thumped by the best team in the league - 'Let's aim to let in less goals in the 2nd half than we did in the 1st!' we managed this in both games. 'Let's try and score one goal!' we managed this in one of the games.

In the world of football all the talk will soon be all about next season, who is managing where.
The only threat to my managerial career is if Rebekah says that it is taking up too much time of our family time.

As far as I know I have not had a vote of confidence. Not bad for a manager at the bottom of the league!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

King's Church Social Action Conference 2011

This event happened last Saturday and here are some of my reflections from the day.

1. It is really good doing a localised event. It meant we heard from the chaplain at HMP Belmarsh for example as well as allowing me the opportunity to address our current situation at King's.
2. Needs to either be much longer or aim to do far less in the day. People wanted to go to more than one seminar which wasn't possible.
3. In the follow up, it is hard to manage the expertise and dreams of people but it is so important that we develop justice in different ways. Please bear with me if you want to discuss future options.
4. Dave did a fabulous job organising the event.

For those who did not make it here is a synopsis of my talk.

It was based on the story Jesus told of the man beaten up the Jericho Road.
The road was real and very dangerous, a bit like some of the streets in our city. As believers we are called to live on the Jericho Road. This means living with the reality of the beaten up lives that are around us. Then after a brief explanation of the biblical description of God's heart for the broken I then responded to this call to live on the Jericho Road in 4 ways.

Individually - we must be ready to stop and help those in need, perhaps by walking the Jericho Road's of Catford rather than driving through with our stereos turned up loud so we don't hear the cries from those around us. Once we have stopped we don't send the person to social services or the church or the police but we try and persoanlly respond to the need.

Our homes and our family unit - we discussed how we make the best use of our homes, don't underestimate the power of an invite! Jesus spoke so much about inviting people, who sits where, who gets the best food, who cleans the feet, invite those who can't invite you back. It is a big deal in some cultures but we are not naturally strong at this in the West.
How do we include our families in the 'justice' journey? Well great wisdom is needed! But I want my children to be able to walk the Jericho Road and be street wise as well as remaining compassionate. At meal times in my house we sometimes discuss people on the Jericho Road. When I told my children that some people drink so much alcohol that their liver fails and as a result their skin turns yellow, the kids asked me, Are the Simpsons, the TV cartoon family, alcoholics!

Local church projects - obviously I am great believer in the value of church projects, simply the financial and physical resources plus the leadership challenge required lead to churches operating expressions of compassion. It is good for the church, changing the demographics of those in the church plus helping people outside the church have their view of the church improved, as long as we do a good job of course.

Repaving the Jericho Road - "We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside... but one day we must come and see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask., maybe the whole road to Jericho needs repaving." Martin Luther King - a time to break the silence
This is one that requires a push forward for us but we have advantage of 10 years of credibility behind us.

So a great day but only succesful if we go and do likewise!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Loving the Bikes

Yesterday, the May Day Bank Holiday, is one of my favourite days of the year. The reason is that for the last 4 (or 5) years I have done the Tonbridge triathlon on this day but because of my knee operation I was not able to do it this year and I really missed it! Instead I went on a family bike ride round Bewl Water in Kent. It was a fabulous day with a challenging 13 mile route, the paths are quite rough and some of the hills are decent climbs (especially for my 7 year old!). If you do go, try and avoid the outrageous parking costs! Also remember what I said in a previous blog about the price of tea - I paid £1.50 for a lukewarm cup of tea. Outrageous!

But the bikes that really make this Bank Holiday so special are the motorbikes that literally take over the A21 road to Hastings. In previous years when I have returned from the Triathlon and travelled North back to Catford we have watch thousands of bikes travelling South. But yesterday we were travelling South at the same time as the bikes. It was a fabulous experience, bikes of all sizes passing us, every lay-by packed with bikes and bikers, spectators on the bridges, people on deck chairs at junctions, on some sections all we could see behind us were tens of bikes. It was a mass participation event with seemingly no one person or committee or company organising it, I found it so inspiring! Let me make it clear, the only time I have ever been on a bike was in India on one occasion and I have no desire to start now but I loved being involved in this fabulous event. We waved at the people standing on the roadside and we waved at the bikers.

I don't know how many motorbikes were making their way to Hastings (a lot) but when people join together with a common purpose and act together it is a remarkable sight. Whilst watching the Royal Wedding I was surprised at how moving it was and I am sure this was due to the huge crowds that were involved. My conclusion is that we humans are drawn to large events, being part of something much bigger inspires us and lifts our sights. It's good for our souls!