Advice (to all Staff)

Nobody explained it to me, but the Holy Spirit does the hard part; assembling and preparing pilgrims and staff. The CHAs (Christ’s Hands in Action) personify the hands and feet of God, the guides guide, the music team elevates, leadership facilitates… the cacophony of which helps bring us into God’s presence.

Staff members regard pilgrims with tremendous good will, with great interest and often cannot wait to see them develop. It’s therefore hard to avoid poking and prodding. Pilgrims are busy poking and prodding themselves; more from you is not helpful.

We did special training for staffers who hadn’t worked at least two weekends on the difference between being a pilgrim and a staffer and on the proper ways for staff members to treat pilgrims. It seems to have paid off. The out of state staffers who hadn’t made it to training (several had) were asked to attend a one hour training session Wednesday at 3PM, where they received the same material as other staff members. Special emphasis was given at training to talk givers on the subjects of sticking to the outline and finishing on time. All but one of the talk givers stayed with the outline – the material lost by the one who strayed was covered in a later talk.

We had staffers from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina as well as from Georgia. Several staffers and pilgrims were from the new Tennessee Valley Presbyterian Cursillo community based in Decatur, Alabama.

Aside from nodding wisely and agreeing to pretty much whatever my head CHAs suggested, my other main task was to protect the schedule. I had made a fuss about operating the weekend on time and stressing the importance of adhering to the schedule. There is very little slack built into the schedule and what there is needs to be used for the pilgrims, not wasted in waiting for late people or listening to extra long talks. There are folks who feel that it doesn’t matter if a talk runs over, as long as it is a good talk – but the problem is that you then must reduce the time allotted to discuss it! Failure to protect the schedule results in people getting even less sleep than the few hours the schedule allows them.

This is especially so for staff members when staff meetings run long. Staff meetings need to be kept very short and should cover only what is necessary to the success of the next days’ activities. There is no place in a late evening staff meeting for what went wrong – unless it can prevent something else from going wrong.

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