Oxfordshire Community Churches runs a 'training course' for people with leadership potential, and as I've not been dumb or vulgar enough for a while we were invited to go.
6.30pm Friday to 6.15pm tonight (Saturday) about 45 of us were confined in a hostel in the wilds of Wantage. The basic idea is to group people into teams with a range of abilities and then face them with a number of different kinds of exercises to stress them in order for them to discover their strengths and weaknesses. There was also a nominal teachy bit, although to be honest, this was rather waffly and didn't actually say too much. Or maybe it was just aimed at someone completely different from us - I hope so.
The exercises were designed by various people to stress the teams in different areas: logic, creativity, teamwork in physical activity and communications/information. I made the mistake I'd sworn never to make on this type of weekend of allowing the activity to matter to me, although really it was for the sake of the guys in the team more than anything else. It's completely dumb really - you know it's a game, but you also can't let the others down.
After the physical activity exercise a good friend of mine who is a serious scholar and utterly non-sporting was spitting bullets about the stupidity of it all and having to take part. I've never seen him angry like that before, mostly the anger of frustration.
For me the communication game was the one that wound me up. Obviously considerable thought and effort had been spent on finding ways to make it play badly and wind people up, and it succeeded well with me. I'd say it was most frustrating because even after tweaking on the fly it still played best as a solo game, with a single person doing everything constructive and the rest of the team just waiting for a few seconds of action. I guess the good side is I got reminded that I don't keep my mouth shut when I think something is stupid and I'm cross. Maybe I can learn from the negativity of it? Maybe.
Good to meet a lot of new people too; many I wouldn't normally get to know from Oxford and Witney churches. It didn't work for Chris as she was tired and a bit damaged (from an earlier exercise) but for me, the best part was praying for people at the end.
The key issue is: we survived.