I saw the picture attached to this post on Dave Black’s blog (Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 8:12 p.m.). The picture gave me an idea.
I liked the fact that people were sitting on sofas and love-seats. However, even in this more intimate environment, they are all facing the speaker. Now, for a seminar (and for some reason for church meetings), this is normal. But, I was thinking there may be a way to have an even more intimate and relational seminar.
So, I was picture a seminar (syposium, meeting, conference, who knows what to call these things) about a particular topic. People would be invited to prepare a paper/teaching/presentation/etc. concerning the topic. But, each person’s presentation would be limited to 15 minutes. Yes, that’s right, 15 minutes.
After a person makes his or her 15 minute presentation, the others at the seminar would ask questions for the next 15-20 minutes, while the presenter offers his/her answers. Note, this time would only be to ask questions about the particular presentation, not to add to the discussion. During the question/answer session, the presenter would be able to clear up any misunderstandings or vague parts of the presentation.
After the 15 minute question/answer time, there would then be a 30 minute time of discussion. During this time, anyone could bring up a topic related to the presentation. Again, the topic should be related to what was just presented, but during the discussion time, the options for comments would be broader. However, even during this time, each person’s speaking time would be limited to 3-5 minutes. In this way, many people would have a chance to speak and discuss the issue at hand.
Once the discussion time was over, the entire process would start again with another presenter on another (but related) topic.
Of course, the purpose of this (micro?) seminar would be different than most seminars. The focus would not be on the presenters and their presentations, but on everyone who attends teaching and learning from one another. Preferably, those attending would be from the same general geographical area (say Raleigh/Durham, NC – or wherever you are located). So, the micro-seminar would also build unity and relationships among the Christians in a certain area.
The picture above triggered the idea, but I see people sitting on sofas or love-seats or other comfortable chairs in circles all facing one another. The number of participants would probably be limited to 50 or so. Those presenting, asking questions, or commenting could stand or sit where they were, without need for a lectern or podium or even a sound system.
Preferably, the micro-seminar would include one or two meals that all participants would eat together, to further build relationships and discussion among the group.
I would pick a theme for the micro-seminar that would be beneficial to the church. Perhaps something like “Leadership in the Church.” I’m sure that are millions of other themes.
So, that’s my idea. It’s sketchy, but I think it can be beneficial. But, it’s not something that I can do on my own. Is anyone else out there (specifically in the Raleigh/Durham area) interested in helping plan something like this? Do you think it would be beneficial? What would you add, change, etc.?
(By the way, I’m not suggesting that this has never been done. I’ve never been part of something like this, though.)