Culleoka, Tennessee: New Shepherds Orientation Workshop # 16

…April 9-11, 2019, mutual admiration

Identification of people in the above photo: from left to right: Jerrie Barber, Gail Barber, Russell Smith, Pam Foster, David Foster, Paul Blocker, Michele Blocker, Steve Burgett, Pam Burgett, Jimmy Thompson, Rebecca Thompson

April 9-11 were the dates of the 16th New Shepherds Orientation Workshop. We used great accommodations at Columbia Academy in Columbia, Tennessee. The facility was ideal for our group sessions, audio-visual presentations, small group discussions, and snacks.

The brothers and sisters had prepared well. They read the assigned books and arranged for delicious food to keep hunger from distracting us.

One of the themes I kept hearing throughout the weekend was the mutual admiration of the elders, their wives, and the preacher and his wife for each other. The elders talked of the appreciation they had for Russell Smith and his family who’ve been working with them two years.

Russell told me several times before the workshop and several times over the weekend how much he respected and appreciated the Culleoka elders.

According to those who attend, one of the best things we do in the workshop is dividing into small groups to discuss how to apply principles we’ve introduced.

That didn’t happen as much before the spring of 2017. I always ask for criticism in each workshop. I lead in each congregation the best I know how. I tell them I’d like to do better in the next workshop. If they’ll tell me, I can do better.

I print a book for each workshop with a collection of leadership principles I’ve gathered for fifty-eight years. Before the workshop in Puyallup, Washington, I’d, distribute the books the first night of the training, read a section in the workbook, then lead the group in discussion.

After returning home, one of the elders complied with my request to tell how to improve the workshop. He told about a distraction and how to improve:

Reading verbatim from course materials; people in the workshop should be able to read it themselves; send material ahead to be read prior to workshop; more interactive problem solving; reference item by page # & discuss why it works or doesn’t work, what is unique to the group that allows it to work or prevents it from working.

I hadn’t thought of doing this. I’ve been doing this since then. Now, after the workshop, many people tell me one of the best things over the weekend is when they divide into their groups and talk about how these principles apply to them. I read a book on my iPhone while they’re talking.

Sometimes the best thing a leader can do is nothing and let the group do it themselves.

Gail and I enjoyed our time with these good brethren. They treated us and each other well.

(Visited 581 times, 62 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

2 Responses to “Culleoka, Tennessee: New Shepherds Orientation Workshop # 16

  • Why was this sentence included? “I read a book on my iPhone while they’re talking.”

  • Eric,

    With proper structure and encouragement, people we’re leading can often teach themselves more than when we’re talking.

    Sometimes the best thing I can say is nothing.

    Thank you for reading, noticing, thinking, and asking.

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