Sharing Session Report
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REPORT
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Dayspring Sharing Session ad hoc Committee
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January 23, 2018
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INTRODUCTION, DELIVERABLES, SUMMARY and OBSERVATIONS: Part 1 of 3
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A. Introduction:
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Dayspring’s membership is varied in many ways—old/young; introvert/extrovert; connected/peripheral; founder/new; mature/immature; supporter/unsupported.
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The challenge is to address this variety with the best outcome for the most members. We can’t meet the individual fellowship needs of all members now, but it’s something we should plan to grow toward. (For example, the idea of regular small groups is an expressed need.) Our submissions are somewhat like suggestions for good health practices applied to the broad population vs. a specific diagnosis and treatment for an individual. We are at present called to recommend options for the full church in general, which may help Dayspring at a later time to address the specific fellowship needs of individuals.
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Dayspring is entering an exciting new season in its life. We’ve just completed a major financial accomplishment in funding roof repairs; we have had the marriages of several young members; new children born into church families; we’re working to welcome those that have been marginalized; our committee structure—most recently Worship—have been reorganized and reinvigorated; and the elders are calling for instituting the sharing session, an important part of Dayspring for many years. This group’s work is a part of that energy.
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B. Deliverables to be the product of the Report:
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1. This committee will prepare a report containing options for Dayspring sharing session—as many options for sharing session as the Working Group feels have a reasonable chance for success. It will be provided to the elders and deacons at their respective first meetings in February, 2019.
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2. Where appropriate, the Report will state the preferences of the Committee.
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3. The Report will suggest frequency, dates, and times for sharing sessions.
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4. The Report will try to anticipate and describe both the potential benefits and potential weaknesses of each option.
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5. Each option will contain a simple implementation plan, and will include:
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a. objective(s) for each session
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b. topic(s) to be covered
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c. grouping and organization of participants (all members together or break out groups, self-selecting or assigned, etc.)
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6. The Report will suggest a date for an assessment by the Committee of the first several sessions, and that assessment will then be forwarded to the elders for their review.
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C. Summary Recommendations of this Report
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Discussions of sharing session options yielded the general answers and suggestions (in italics) to the questions below. These responses represent the consensus of the Committee. The various OPTIONS for implementation are outlined in Parts 2 and 3. The elders can choose which option(s) to adopt, or can devise their own.
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1. What is the most important goal for Dayspring both as a whole and at this time?
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We need to get to know one another better. More intimate sharing hopefully will grow in time from this beginning step.
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2. Should we break out small groups or stay in full assembly?
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We should stay together in full assembly, at least for the time being. This reduces anxiety and members leaving when sharing session begins. Sharing needs to be for everyone.
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3. How will the (a) start time, (b) frequency and (c) length of sharing session affect the Sunday schedule?
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a. Start time
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The start time for class should remain 9:30 AM. An earlier start for class (9:15 AM) was discussed, but the consensus was that it would add another layer of change that was unnecessary. The time adjustments required to accommodate various Sunday schedules are outlined in TIME AND LENGTH OPTIONS: Part 2 (below)
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b. Frequency
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Once a week: Pros—more members participate; sharing becomes more comfortable through repetition; consistency of expectations and schedule reduces confusion. Cons—fatigue; too much change too quickly; Planning, organization and implementation has a deadline of every week.
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c. Length
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Fifteen minutes, to lessen the burden on those sharing, and in consideration of the total length of Sunday time together.
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4. What are our most viable options for the content of sharing session?
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These various OPTIONS are outlined CONTENT AND PROCEDURE OPTIONS: Part 3 of 3. (However, our preferences are detailed here in points a-e.)
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a. Have one or two members share to the entire congregation something about their lives. (CONTENT AND PROCEDURE OPTION #2 below)
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b. Each sharing should include some basics such as early life, home town and church, significant other, work, school, etc.
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c. The rest of their sharing could be broader or deeper, depending upon the speakers' degree of comfort with personal self-revelation. To help provide speakers with a framework, possible “themes” could be suggested, including ideas such as:
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1) My path to Dayspring
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2) My spiritual journey and autobiography
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3) My Christian testimony (Dudley Chancey's class's strong point on this)
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4) Life lessons I’ve learned
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d. The elders should select and prepare the members who will share with the congregation. These members should represent the spectrum of Dayspring demographics mentioned in the Introduction—old/young; introvert/extrovert; connected/peripheral; founder/new; mature/immature; supporter/unsupported. It’s important that this first group also be good communicators who will set the proper atmosphere and generally produce good response from the congregation.
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e. A monthly pot luck meal should begin as soon as practical and should be promoted often. Sharing session might be omitted on such meal Sundays (Schedule #6 below). Manda Shank has volunteered to coordinate all the moving parts of meals. Chris Rosser has volunteered to coordinate an Easter service (April 21, 2019) built around the common meal.
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5. What is the time duration before assessment, and what is the assessment procedure?
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We suggest that whatever the format the elders ultimately adopt, it be used for five months through June, 2019. At that time the Committee will meet, evaluate and forward their assessment to the deacons for comment. Then it will be forwarded to the elders for their consideration and decision on the next phase of sharing session.
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D. Other observations, comments, and suggestions:
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o Identify those in the church who are good “connectors.” Ask them to follow certain members in need of support, and suggest organic ways to foster fellowship?
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o Consider name tags for a while.
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o The schedule should remain generally the same whether there is a meal or not.
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o A shorter worship service could be encouraged on meal Sundays.
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o Manda Shank has volunteered to coordinate Sunday meals
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o We suggest having worship around the meal tables on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, the Sunday before OC final exams. Chris Rosser has volunteered to coordinate.
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o Sharing can be more informal when its not a part of the worship service. Younger members might be more willing to sign up for an informal sharing than the more structured worship.
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o Sharing needs to be for everyone. If sharing is before announcements, visitors could be recognized and and then given the opportunity to be excused. (This needs thought to be done sensitively.)
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o It’s very important to share the founding of Dayspring and its ethos in order to pass on leadership to the next generation.
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o If there’s not enough time for questions to the sharers, members afterward can give them written questions to them, and their answers can be posted in a link in the bulletin, if appropriate.
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o Provide the speakers some choices and ideas to make them feel comfortable. (See 4.c. above)
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o “Spiritual autobiography” is a good handle for sharing.—Also a great topic for summer classes.
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o Elders should select the sharers, including at first a few founders.
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o Need a moderator(s) for the sharing session, to watch the time and handle questions, if any. (Again, sensitivity is needed in the selection of the moderator(s) and their duties.)
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o During prayer requests, the moderators should encourage members to tell “What’s on your heart.”
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TIME AND LENGTH OPTIONS: Part 2 of 3
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TIMESCHEDULE--CURRENTLY as ADVERTISEDMin
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9:30Class50
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10:20Break25
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10:45Worship (arbitrarily listed as 45")45
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11:30Announcements/Prayer15
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11:45Dismiss @ 2h15m135
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TIMESCHEDULE #1 (Sharing after announcements with meal)Min
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9:30Class40
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10:20Break20
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10:40Worship50
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11:45Introduce visitors/Announcements/Prayers15
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11:30Sharing15
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12:00Dismiss @ 2h00m plus meal140
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Shared meal
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Prosmeal is a great time to share; kids have to eat anyway; meal immediately after worship helps parents with young children; unstructured meal eases the congregation into sharing at the table
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Conssomeone has to plan meal (rebuttal: someone has to plan sharing session). One other con: Again, unstructured time may not accomplish the goals we're looking to achieve; if the goal is for members of the congregation to meet new people, that may not be accomplished during a time where people will be likely to just sit with their friends.
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