Role Play – Self-awareness in Groups

Aim: To help us begin to recognise our own agendas and ways of working when we come together.

Time: 60 minutes.

You will need: Enough copies of the roles for each person to have one each. Copy the sheets and cut up into strips. The roles are on pages 22-23. Each person needs an envelope containing a role and a name badge/sticky label, with Christian names only (i.e. just Peter not Peter Prophet). A way of communicating the debrief/discussion questions – put onto an overhead projector slide/PowerPoint/slips of paper.

Instructions for Leader to read out:

1. Divide into groups of 6.

2. Each group is being given 6 envelopes, each containing one role and name tag. These are not to be opened yet.

3. The following is the scenario you are in:

There has been discontent with the current morning service. The 10 am service is fairly full, but there has been a feeling that trying to cater well for the children and young people is hard to do at the same time as providing meaningful reflective worship for older people. It seems as if trying to do something for everyone is ending up pleasing no one. The leadership team has proposed a move from one 10am service to two different styles:
9.30 Reflective meditative service
11.00 Family worship
You are a working group, made up of people representing different interest groups in the church. Your aim is to discuss the proposal and reach a common mind.

4. You may now distribute and open your envelope.

5. Read your role through and put on your badge.

6. Engage in a debate with other members of your group in the style suggested by your role. You each have a desired outcome, but try to engage creatively with the other members.

7. You have 20 minutes to discuss the issues.
Allow discussion to commence, and keep track of the time. At the end of the discussion put the following questions on the overhead projector, or hand around slips with the questions.

Debrief: (remove badges)

• Reveal character profiles to each other and talk about how the discussion went. Was it constructive? Why/Why not?
• People often come to meetings with their own agendas – how do we work creatively and sensitively with this?
• If the aim is to discern the mind of Christ when we come together, how do we help one another to put aside our own agendas?
• Split into pairs and talk with each other about our own tendencies in discussions. Which character do we most identify with?

Roles for Self-awareness in Groups Role Play

Peter Prophet
You are the youth leader. You had a dream recently in which you felt sure that God was speaking directly to you. In the dream you were underwater and saw a shoal of beautiful coloured fish. You admired their harmony – the way they moved as a group, and stayed together even when negotiating obstacles and searching for food. But suddenly a big ugly shark came and divided the shoal into two groups. The fish seemed to panic and scatter in different directions. All harmony was lost. You are convinced that God is saying that we need to stay together as one congregation in the mornings. Even though your personal preference is for a more youth-oriented service
– God has spoken!

Dolores Deacon
You will chair the meeting. You have served many years on the leadership team – in your opinion it is a good group that has grown in spiritual maturity over the years. You feel that only the leaders really understand ‘the pulse’ of the church, and the direction that God wants. The body of the church is full of barely committed people, new Christians and people who are, frankly, just passengers. God has called the leaders to their role, and their views are really the only ones to be truly ‘in tune’. To question the leaders is to question God’s judgment in calling them. You believe that God has led the leadership to this model of two services as a way of enabling a very diverse congregation to grow in their faith and service.

Worried Win
You have been at the church all your life and have a strong interest in trying to keep things as they were in the ‘glory days’ of the church. You are very fearful of change since it seems to dishonour the life and service of your dear friends in the past that gave everything for this church. You feel it important to point out all the problems and difficulties that others might overlook. People today are too quick to overturn the long-established, tested and God-honouring traditions of the past. If you can’t defeat change, you still feel a sense of triumph if you can delay or defer decisions. Obviously the two service model is an affront, and unworkable.

Wounded Walter
Life has not been kind to you. You cannot cope with any more failure, so it is very important that your view prevail. You need to be seen as a valued and essential person. You tend to do this by a self-effacing kind of manipulation. You try to make people feel sorry for you and play the victim role. You actually want a quieter service, because you can’t stand the noise and distraction the children make, but you would never admit this openly or say what you really want. Rather you find ways to make people want to protect you from hurt. You take everything very personally, and if you sense that things are not going your way, you may resort to throwing a tantrum.

Hen-pecked Harry
Your wife has told you to vote against the proposed division of the congregation. She says she has canvassed the opinions of all key people, and at least a third of the congregation will leave (including some significant givers) if the proposed split goes ahead. She wouldn’t dream of speaking out, but you would be in big trouble at home if you let this one get through! You are not sure what you think really – you would have liked to have listened to all the different views, but you dare not cross ‘she who must be obeyed’.

Loaded Lucille
You have been involved in the church some 10 years now. You found great comfort in the fellowship at the time of the death of your dear Freddie, and you have been very generous with the considerable fortune he left you. You were able to fast-forward the sanctuary renovation program, and you have always ensured that the pastors and their families got a decent holiday each year. You also give a good deal of your time to the church – supporting other widows, and running endless coffee mornings. You have come to expect that people take you seriously. After all, the more significant stakeholders should surely have a greater say in what happens in church. You think that a more focused approach to worship will be good for people and are supportive of the proposal.