I’m starting to see how investing in lots of one-on-one meetings with congregants can pay off over time in connections and insight. I hear threads emerging when I talk to people, and little pictures are coming into focus of folks struggling with and yearning for the same things.
It’s rewarding, though it doesn’t come with a programmatic set of instructions. Lots of people feel isolated from meaningful community. Great (not great); you had a hunch that was the case and now you’re hearing it firsthand from person after person. That’s an insight. The insight is not the application though.
So keep having the one-on-ones and keep listening for detail. Resist the urge to propose fixes. Try things. Experiment. But hold every experiment loosely and provisionally, always ready to tweak it in light of more learning from more one-on-ones.
This way of working is not step by step, right? It’s spade work. The stuff you can work with grows when you’re not looking.