Participation/Engagement/Ownership is the Big Mac of the Transformational Giving Extra Value Meal. It is the Tom Brady of the Transformational Giving Super Bowl Team. It is the Joey of Transformational Giving’s 1980s Blossom TV show.
It is, in other word, the pedagogical centerpiece.
Each time we develop a new topic for presentation in our monthly workshops, we’re really explicating a new dimension of–a new application of–PEO as a way of growing people to full maturity in Christ. People who are relatively new to TG then say, ‘But we talked about PEO laaaaaaaast month!’ People who sit with TG for some time say, ‘Please make sure we talk about it neeeeeeext month, tooooooooo.’
So as I was reading Henderson’s book on John Wesley’s class meetings, I was astounded to read a note that could just as easily have been written about PEO as it could about Wesley’s pedagogical method. Pardon the long excerpt, but DANG! It’s a good read:
The progression of Methodist converts through successive groups toward a stated goal as their readiness allowed and as mastery was attained at each level reveals a profound knowledge of both human nature and educational philosophy. Since Wesley had no training in group design or any contemporary models to copy, it must be assumed that his understanding was either intuitive or accidental, or the result of experimentation. The place of the behavioral mode before the affective mode goes against the grain of widely-accepted thinking about how to effect character improvement. It was widely-held belief opinion in Wesley’s day (and vestiges of this belief still persist) that human progress begins with the motives or will or ‘tempers’ and extends outward to overt behavior. It came as a revolutionary discovery in 1900 when William James, the father of modern psychology, proclaimed that actions precede, rather than follow changes in attitude. This was 150 years after Wesley designed a system for correcting behavior first (through the class meeting) and feelings or attitudes later through the bands.
I’ve long been content to make the case that PEO is the scriptural progression for discipleship, but this is the first time I’ve been struck by the power of the pedagogy behind it.
Reading the passage has led me to think I think I have an idea regarding the dimension of learning that is the focus of each level of PEO, namely:
- At the Participation level, we’re focused on behavioral change
- At the Engagement level, we’re focused on cognitive change
- At the Ownership level, we’re focused on affective change
Psychology students will recognize behavioral, cognitive, and affective as the three divisions of the human personality described in modern psychology. ‘Behavioral’ and ‘cognitive’ are easy words to intuitively grasp, but how about ‘affective’?
Affective refers to feelings and emotions. In Wesley’s view, it referred to the quality of one’s love.
On the face of it, ‘affective’ is a puzzling focus to pair with O. Traditional/transactional fundraising, for example, might pair the affective with P, on the idea that tugging on the heart strings is the way to get a quick donation.
But in the Scriptures, whether 1 Corinthians 13 (in which Paul talks about love) or the writings of John, love is always portrayed as the pathway to full maturity–that which doesn’t pass away or become transmuted into something else.
It’s also interesting to note that when Jesus encounters the rich young ruler, we’re told:
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
So there is something in the maturation of our love that must precede the sharing of the cause with others if it is to be effective and genuinely Christian. In other words, replication happens at all levels in TG. Participants replicate. Engaged folks replicate. But when a Participant replicates, they reproduce people whose passion is for a project, not for the cause. When Engaged folks replicate, they reproduce people who are far more likely to become representatives of the nonprofit than they are to become reflections of it.
So Ownership is the level at which we focus on the character and quality of the champion’s love so that their replication/reproduction process is solely guided by that love, rather than passion for a project or an organization.
PEO = BCA. Does that help or hinder your understanding of PEO?
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