I love putting on events. The adrenaline rush, the creative energy, getting motivated people together in one room—wow, that’s when I come alive. I think its roots come from the twenty years that I spent as a choir director and everything was always focused on the next concert. Memories of hearing the mystical hush in the room after a gorgeous choral piece ended continue to send shivers down my spine.
And then a friend sent me the blog post Why Your Next Training Event Will Fail, by Tim Elmore. After five minutes of reading, my paradigm was shattered. I knew he was right. Elmore’s distinction between “events” and “processes” describes the trajectory of our CRCNA ministries these past five years. We’ve come to recognize that long term relationships, sustained “walking alongside,” growing trust, and building momentum are essential parts of the mix for transformational change. Yes, we continue to host events but these events are now embedded in long term relationships and processes.
The US East Coast region hosts weekly anti-racism conversations (see Ministry on the Frontlines in this issue of The Brief) that perfectly illustrates what Elmore names. These conversations are weekly events that cumulatively set a healing and transformative process in play.
How does your ministry embody this event/process distinction? What might you learn and put into practice from Elmore’s teaching?