The relationship between champion and champion is as important as the relationship between champion and organization.
I’ve long felt that this is a TG principle with very few scratches even on its surface. It’s certainly the least intuitive aspect of the networking theory of TG. Most folks, upon seeing the networking diagrams, grasp that it makes sense to coach existing champions to spread the cause in their sphere of influence.
Grasping that we should be equally intentional about bringing these champions together? So far it’s been just that: grasping.
But I’ve been reading this killer book this week by D. Michael Henderson from Northland, A Church Distributed. The book is titled, A Model for Making Disciples: John Wesley’s Class Meeting.
Wesleyan or no, buy the book. It’ll give you Hungry Man meals for thought in the area of TG. Especially in relation to this question of the role of community in coaching champions. Check out what Henderson writes:
Wesley was convinced that learning is expedited by group interaction, whether the content of that learning is behavioral transformational, redirection of attitudes and motives, cognitive data-gathering, strategic training, or social rehabilitation. It seems that he responded to every instructional need he met by establishing a group, some kind of group. He felt his own personal growth was largely due to participation in group experiences, and he advocated them for others. [emphasis mine]
He notes a bit later:
The leading members of one group were almost always participants in the next group up the ladder. For example, the leader of a class was almost always a member of one of the bands, whose leader was in turn, automatically a member of the select society.
The idea of dealing with ‘donors’ by building a relationship between them and the organization is so deeply ingrained in us that it seems superfluous to think about connecting them to each other. For John Wesley, however, it was fundamental.
What would it look like in TG for the leading P to be a member of an E group? For the leading E to be a member of an O group?
What if the definition of a good Signature Participation Project included this characteristic:
- Collective. Joining a cause is communal, by definition. A good SPP squarely grounds the champion process in a collective of Participants, led by a champion at the E or O level.
CommuniTG. Flip the question and ask not if there’s a reason for champions to be brought together with other champions but rather if, by the time we’re done, there should be space for anything but that in TG?