Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What can church learn from WoW??? part 2

Remember a while back I posted some thoughts on what the church could learn from WoW (link) :: (inspired by a post from Joi Ito on WoW)... Well, a chap called AKMA has taken my comments and ran with them (link) - I am delighted that he picked up the comments and feel he has developed my thoughts into something more tangible and meaningful...

The first thought I had was that people enjoy being together - this is the fellowship part of Church: the sharing and belonging... AKMA highlights this by saying ::
"online applications thrive by providing the opportunity for social interaction while doing something else."
He then qualifies my thought by saying ::
"I’d just add that the durable, productive sort of fellowship emerges when shared activities evoke harmonious interaction — much more so than from settings in which an organizer sets up an event and expects people to fellowship."
This is so true... In my experience. the most meaningful fellowship has ocurred through the house groups and Alpha where we are all together for a reason and develop bonds through our mutual endeavours. The fellowship happens in Alpha, for example, at the meal or at the coffee break...and this spills over into the discussion.

The second thought I had was around the morale of the group and the role of Church leadership :: I see leadership as being more around facilitation than top-down authority... which goes against the grain in the Salvation Army. Again AKMA takes my thought and runs with it ::
Church life presents a dangerous temptation to “let the Spirit guide (so long as it happens my way).” I’m much more comfortable with honest authority structures, so long as they’re occupied by people who don’t particularly want the power. By the same token, one can’t eliminate manipulation and power games by eradicating the explicit lines of authority.
Two valuable points here... I think my comments can come over as being naive or utopian... Let's face it - when it comes to people, we need authority figures. I hate power games and have experienced too many in my time at work and at church... especially the Spirit guides me in this direction type. I know that these games will happen regardless of structure. My thought was around maturity and professionalism where everyone is motivated to get the task done... and the leadership act as enablers to make this happen.

It is so true that good leaders will act as enablers and facilitators to ensure the right people are in the right roles to make the action work... and it is also true that being a facilitator doesn't come the minute you get the title "facilitator".

I think where I am going with this is that, in my personal experience, everyone wants the benefit but few people want to get involved... but by being involved, their experience is so much deeper and more varied. We need to take more of a collective view and responsibility for moving the church forward, rather than leaving it to the Minister and the faithful few... This is where facilitation is a greater requirement.

AKMA makes a couple of other points that I believe are spot on...

Firstly, WoW highlights a desire from some people to believe in magic. There is a sense of re-enchantment in the West. Science isn't enough and new age ideas are filling the gap. This actually presents the church with an AKMA puts it ::
If we bracket the interminable discussion about “magic” vs. “miracle,” we can acknowledge that a sizable number of people are ready to deal with claims about worlds in which more is going on than meets the strictly scientific eye.
This is an opportunity that we need to explore.

Secondly, WoW creates strong team feelings ::
I observe that the game (as other team sports) evokes extremely strong feelings of solidarity, accomplishment, frustration, disaffection, and persistence.
You could argue that church is a team sport. I have these feelings through being part of something and participating in church. That for me is the key - you benefit twice through participation - you get the task done and you do it as part of a bigger collective whole.

Thank you AKMA for your comments - I look forward to reading more on your thoughts. You are onto something...

PS - Say "hi" to Joi for me... ^____^

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