How many church members would it take to change a light bulb?
There we are, in our community meeting space in the church building when the light goes out, what do we do. Well first we need to ascertain if the light bulb needs changing. Is the bulb broken, or did a non-designated person operate the light switch without authorisation? If the bulb is broken, then who will fund the new light bulb? An emergency session meeting is called. The fabric committee declares that as nobody can see the hymn books, this is a worship issue, but the reality is we have no money anyway. Maybe we can look for external funding? We could set up a research project to see if there is an ongoing need for light in the church. If there is, then we could then apply for a pilot grant, maybe try a candle for a few months before moving to main grant funding. We will, of course, need to confirm that light is still part of the Presbytery Plan.
The day comes to finally install the new bulb, only for us to find out that the community got tired of waiting, clubbed together, bought a few torches and held ‘Community In the Light’ gatherings in an old shop on the High Street.
Change often comes when we least expect it, and change demands from us a requirement to think creatively. This is what has happened in our current work in the High School. We received research funding from Go For It. The research results indicated a desire for a Film Club (making and watching). We then applied and received a Pilot Grant, this gave us the equipment. As we worked with the pupils it began to emerge that Street Art was of more interest for the group we had. The change was happening, the young people were saying that Street Art was how they wanted to express themselves. We went with it, bringing in funding from the local council to support the Pilot Grant. The current outcome: well the Film Club has evolved into a documentary team for the Street Art group. In addition, a local primary school, hearing of the work, invited us to run an after-school film club with them, a real unseen bonus. All because change was allowed to happen, a vital element in Asset Based Community Development.
Just as the light bulb pops unexpectedly, the change in Community Work often shifts direction without warning.
Take for example the image attached to this article, it is from a ‘free to use’ website. This is one of a number of emerging websites that offer high-quality images for free use. This is the shift, this is the change, people want to give their work and gifts freely, this is a rapid overnight light bulb style change from the world of copyright and ownership.
The world we live in now is one of constant rapid realignment and evolution, for me in my role, the ability to listen, hear and respond to change is critical. The ability to forecast change is also vital, this way I am ready to respond to change as it is happening.
Trinity Church, Inverness
About the Author
David Lynch is the Young Person and Family Worker at Trinity Church in Inverness.
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