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					                 Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills Workshops
                                   Diane Williams




About 10 years ago I was searching for some resources to help me in my role as
member care provider with YWAM. I came across Dr. Kelly O’Donnell’s book
Missionary Care. One of the chapters mentioned a workshop called Sharpening
Your Interpersonal Skills. It took some time to track down where the workshops
were held, and how to attend one. But believe me, it was worth it. Finding this
workshop was a godsend. Not only did it help me in my ministry of helping others,
but also helped me in my own personal life as well. I’ve since gone on to take
training from International Training Partners in facilitating these workshops.
Trainers from International Training Partners have come from the U.S. twice to
train a number of other facilitators from different missions in India as well. They
will be coming again this year.


What is it? You might be wondering what this workshop is all about. It is an
interactive 5 day workshop that helps us to improve our knowledge, attitudes and
skills in relating to others, whether it be our family members, our co-workers,
people of other cultures, or the communities in which we live. Participants work
together in pairs, small groups and in the whole group. They observe skills and
practice them with each other. The best methods of adult education are utilized so
that maximum learning and skills building takes place.


Foundations – The workshops has been developed over a period of 30 years,
based on Dr. Ken Williams (SIL and International Training Partners, U.SA)
experience in counselling, training and Bible translation. The knowledge, attitudes
and skills are based on the practical application of the Word of God.


Partnering Organizations Over eighty organizations worldwide have qualified
facilitators who can provide these workshops, including those from IMA, Campus
Crusade, IEM, Interserve, and YWAM, among others. Dozens of missionaries in
India have gone through the SYIS. MUT has also hosted workshops here in India.
Shanti and JJ Ratnakumar have attended a workshop themselves.
The topics that we cover in the workshops are arranged around four major areas –




LISTENING SKILLS


Loving Listening: Loving listening is the cornerstone of effective relationships.
True loving listening is a skill that must usually be learned. We demonstrate how
not to listen, and how to listen more effectively. Then the participants have an
opportunity to practice loving listening. They become aware of what level other
people may be on and how to respond appropriately. Specific skills and behaviors
are presented to keep in mind when listening to others.

Drawing people out: Drawing others out is a vital step in ministering to them. The
key to drawing a person out lies in the "bubbles" he or she brings to the surface.
Bubbles on a lake indicate that something is underneath that is not obvious.
When something is important to us, we send up bubbles to see if anyone will
notice and be interested. Bubbles are a direct line to the heart. The concept of
bubbles is explained and demonstrated. Participants discuss and practice four
key ways to respond to bubbles: silence, questions, self-disclosure and
observations.

Helping Others Solve Problems: When someone comes with a problem, people
are often tempted to give advice on what the other person should do. But this
probably isn't the most helpful to them. In this session, we learn seven steps for
helping others explore options, so they can come up with a solution themselves.
Participants watch a demonstration where one person helps another solve a
problem. Then they practice using the seven steps with a partner, on either a real
or hypothetical problem.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS

Confronting: For many people, confrontation is the most difficult part of relating
to others, yet it is essential to godly relationships. God's Word is filled with
confrontations and has much to say on the subject. This session guides
participants through biblical guidelines and skills on how to confront others, from
preparing for the confrontation, to steps to take when confronting. Both verbal
and nonverbal ways to handle resistance when confronting are considered. The
demonstrations and practice in confronting effectively help us become more
comfortable and effective in confronting others when necessary.

Receiving Confrontation: Receiving confrontation well is just as important, and
often even harder, than giving confrontation, especially when we are confronted in
anger. In this session the participants discover biblical ways to diffuse an attack.
Demonstrations show how to respond effectively and what to avoid doing when
confronted in anger. Participants can dramatically see the difference that their
reaction has when they are confronted in anger. Then they practice the skill in
pairs.


Managing our Conflicts: Conflicts with others are rarely easy to handle. This
session starts by looking at some core beliefs about healthy relationships and
conflict. We then discuss biblical ground rules for effective conflict resolution, as
well as a suggested step-by-step strategy for managing conflicts. This strategy
helps to slow the process down, and reduces inappropriate expression of
feelings. Demonstrations help participants see effective ways to handle conflicts
and what to avoid when in conflict.


Helping Others Manage Conflicts: We sometimes observe others experiencing
conflict that they are unable to resolve on their own. This session gives
participants two strategies to help others who are in conflict. The first strategy is
helping one person who comes to us; the second is being a mediator between two
people with a conflict. Each contains specific steps to take. Two demonstrations
illustrate these strategies, followed by a discussion of the demonstrations and
practical application of how this skill can be used in our own lives.

SKILLS FOR LIVING IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

Building Personal Trust: Trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship,
including family, work, friendships, and even God! Yet trust has so often been
broken that many find it hard to trust anyone. This session considers the
significance of being able to trust others, as well as being trustworthy ourselves.
It looks at things we do to destroy trust, and things that build trust. Building trust
is important both on the individual level and on an organizational level. The
materials include worksheets on building trust with issues to consider on our own
and also issues to discuss with family, friends or co-workers.

Living in Community: God's Word has much to say about how we are to act with
other Christians. This module examines three positive elements of living in
community: loving, bearing with others, and forgiving. It also analyzes four
destructive elements: comparing ourselves with others, judging, gossip and
slander. The reality of both the positive and the negative elements comes alive in
a new way as participants discuss them and examine these issues personally. A
demonstration graphically illustrates the destructive power of not living well in
community. Participants have the opportunity to practice stopping gossip or
slander. They end with a personal audit on these issues in their own lives.


Helping Others Grieve Well: People often associate grief only with death, but any
significant loss can bring about grief and needs appropriate grief work. The focus
of this session is on understanding grief, not only for managing our own grief
well, but also to enable us to help others manage theirs. The group examines each
stage of the grief process and considers the importance of not skipping any
stages. The session ends with an opportunity for participants to share in pairs
something they are grieving over and pray for each other.

Being an Encourager: Encouraging others is "love with feet on it." This issue is
so important that God mentions it many times in His Word and even commands
that we do it every day. But do we take it as seriously as He does? This session
leads participants through an understanding of why encouragement is so
important to God. They have the opportunity to explore practical ways to
encourage others in small groups and the large group. They also write a note of
encouragement to someone. Participants leave with a fresh understanding of the
incredible results that can come from a small investment of time and energy
through encouragement.
SKILLS FOR LONG-TERM MINISTRY EFFECTIVENESS AND ENJOYMENT


The Battle for Moral Purity: The growing moral breakdown among Christians is
alarming. Satan now blatantly tempts us to immorality in ways that would have
been ineffective only a few years ago. Each person is responsible not only to
engage personally in spiritual warfare to resist sexual temptation, but to help
others to effectively do battle in this arena. This session reminds us to be aware
that we are all susceptible to sexual temptation. We look at the dynamics of sexual
temptation and end with building a strategy for ongoing moral purity. The purpose
of this session is not to bring guilt. We focus not on the past, but on building a
strategy for maintaining moral purity in the future.

Managing Stress: Stress affects everyone, and a joyful, productive life depends
on having skills for handling it well. These sessions provide an understanding of
how stress works and how our perception dramatically affects the amount of
stress we feel. They also supply strategies from God’s Word on how to manage
stress well. Participants have the opportunity to: a) identify their own stressors; b)
look at their reactions to stress; c) learn how to handle their own distresses, d)
identify and use both spiritual and natural resources for managing stress, and
much more. We look at scriptural examples to see how Jesus and others handled
stress. Practical applications help individuals learn how to lower the stress that is
under their control, and learn to better manage the stress situations they cannot
change.

Maintaining Margin: Margin is a sufficient reserve of time, energy and money to
provide for our needs and the needs of others. Margin is as essential as food, air
and water. Without it people begin to wither and die: emotionally, spiritually and
interpersonally. This session begins with a small group Bible study, looking at
examples from Jesus' life and discussing principles we learn from Him. One
serious consequence of not maintaining margin is burnout. Participants take a
Burnout Inventory to discover where they are. Through small group and whole
group discussion as well as reflection, participants begin to build their own
strategy to maintain more margin in their lives.

Each topic is approached from a Biblical perspective.
Taking this workshop has helped me tremendously in my ministry, especially the
topics on helping others solve problems, helping people others manage conflict,
and of course, the sessions on managing stress. One topic that many people have
appreciated was Maintaining Margin, meaning have enough time, energy and
money for unexpected things that come up in our lives. In this session we look at
what depletes our energy, and what we can do to build it up again.


This workshop comes highly recommended around the world. It is well worth
taking the time and effort to attend. One mission leader in the U.S., Dr. Ben Sells
of International Mission Board writes:


               “The SYIS workshop is a key feature of our leadership
               development architecture. The biblical foundation,
               mission context, skill orientation and adult learning
               approach are a powerful combination. Taken to heart,
               SYIS helps people to further reflect the Kingdom in their
               personal lives as well as extend the kingdom by helping
               people minister together more effectively. We believe in
               this workshop. That is why we’ve trained a global network
               of facilitators.”


       For more information, you can contact IMA member care
       coordinator Pramila Rajendran here in India at
       rajpramila@gmail.com or go to the website of International
       Training Partners www.relationshipskills.com


       I’ve also brought some flyers about the workshop for you to take
       home.

				
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