I am wiped. I am so sick of being in this church building (actually I am across the street in my office right now, but the rant works better if I go with building.) that I could cry. As my loyal readers know this was our “Walking in His Footsteps” weekend. I actually delegated (I know it is a shock to me too) the stations to 4 women so I didn’t have much to do in the setup phase. My main job was to just make sure that each of the 12 stations flowed together properly. I also did some small tweaking to a couple of places, but these were just little things that I had learned from my past experience. But over the course of the weekend I was the primary proctor of the event. This means that I was either at the church or checking in on the church from about noon on Friday until 8:00pm on Sunday. I did go home to sleep, but that was about all.
But my loathing for this campus aside, I think the event was a success–at least for the people who participated. The ratio of the amount of work that it took to set up to the amount of people who came was very high. We almost reached my realistic expectation goal so that was good, but I really was hoping for more people to be involved. Of course asking people to be involved in something totally new and on top of that to come and do it during a time outside of normal church hours is asking a lot. The participants of the event had a very moving worship experience, however, so I think that it was worth the effort. As with all things I think when we decide to do another of these events in the future we will find more people coming to participate.
Walking in His Footsteps: A Review
I wanted to give you some pros and cons of this event as well as some ideas from my experience. These are just in the order as the come to my head.
- If you have never done anything like this then you may not have any expectations. I had been through a “prayer labyrinth” before so I was expecting something similar. While the actual set up is similar the execution is a little different. The CD that leads you through this experience contains several dramatic readings. These readings are the bulk of the experience and the “hands-on” part is sort of pushed to the back.
- This is good for people who aren’t used to being asked to participate much in worship and as such might be a good “gateway drug” to worship that requires more from the participant, but for those who are looking to be more involved it may seem a little preachy.
- This event is sort of strange as it is designed for more than one person to be at each station at the same time. That works great for the 2 stations that have interaction (you are to discuss one time and serve people one time) but for some of the others you would need to set up several different interaction points if you want more than one person to be able to be involved at the same time. Either they didn’t think through how they wanted people to use this event or they had something planned other than what I could envision. (and the instruction book is very thin on exposition)
- I created alternate instructions for the 2 stations that explicitly require additional people so that individuals could still have something to do.
- Unless they have updated this pack it comes with VCR tapes instead of DVD’s. This means that I had to constantly patrol looking to rewind the tapes. This might not be a bad thing if you were in the same room as your event, but we had reception in another room so I had to keep go back and I seemed to have more people go without video than with.
- Eventually I just burned the VCR tapes onto DVD’s and then put the DVD on a loop. That worked much, much better!
- One good thing about this event is that it doesn’t have to be done in one big room. If you have a hall with Sunday school classes then you can do this without much trouble.
- The instructions suggest doing it for 2 weekends and I think that would be wonderful because then word of mouth could get around and more people might come. But what church has a space big enough to do this that it can leave unused for 2 weeks? I guess some of you do, but we use every inch of our space twice a week. But if you can it would be a great thing to do.
- This event is also a little long. The CD runs nearly 70 minutes on its own and that is without stopping and interacting. I think you could seriously cut out 3 of the stations (1, 2 or 6, and 10) and it would be a tighter and more focused experience.
- There are a few times when instructions on the CD are vague or very long. On these places I went ahead and printed the instructions so that people could see them.
- The “participant books” that come with the event are just a word for word copy of the text of the CD. Very good for people with hearing problems, but the text is very small and in the semi-darkness of the path it is almost unreadable. If you play on passing out the books plan on passing out flashlights too, but then you have to think that people will have in their hands a CD player, a Book, and a Flashlight and that might be a problem (unless your church is filled with 3 handed people)
- I know there is a copyright issue, but if you are less moral than me (and I don’t really see how you can be) it might be easier to copy the CD to MP3 and then put it on 6 cheap MP3 players (you get 6 CD’s in the kit and can order more so if you do more than MP3 players you should order more CD’s or you will be blatantly stealing) Of course copying it to MP3 is illegal too so maybe you shouldn’t follow this suggestion. (Oooo, GROUP if you are reading this make a resource DVD with clip art and such and the complete thing in MP3 that way we can pick and choose which stations we want to do. )
- That reminds me, for something that is this expensive the only promotional thing they have is a poster. There is no electronic stuff.
- I guess I will conclude by saying that if you haven’t done anything else then this is probably a good thing to do. It may not be a good 3 or 4 prayer experience, however. But if you are looking for one for youth I would go with The Prayer Path long before I did this one.
- I have tried to think of ways to get people involved. Most of the problem I had was just explaining how it worked. I have thought about possibly playing the CD and helping participants do one of the stations in “Big Church” as a taste, but that may not fly in every situation.
Wow, that took much longer than I thought. If you actually read through all of that jumble you have more time on your hands than me.