“Take heed that you not be deceived." Luke 21:8

"Faith at Work"& T-Groups


Notes and links from Susan Conway


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All of these history pages are of interest, and this is from the Faith at Work site itself. I got here in the middle of Student Volunteer Movement study.  Susan


But a change was on the way. In the first place, the new leadership was open to change. The TOG format yielded more and more to smaller groups of three, four, or six without appointed leaders but responding to questions presented to the entire group. Smaller groups allowed greater openness and emotional intimacy. In that environment new procedures developed.

These procedures were partly the outgrowth of the Human Potential movement and related behavioral principles and processes. Transactional Analysis with its emphasis on personal O.K.ness, the National Training Laboratories with their interest in honest and open encounter, Parent Effectiveness Training which argued for seeing the child as a person, Esalin, Gestalt and a host of other workshops, laboratories, strategies and training centers-all put the total human being at the center and pleaded for a greater awareness of personal growth and identity. ...........................................

Christian Wholeness

Under Bruce's leadership the concept of Christian wholeness was made central to the relational life style. To begin with, the staff discussed four aspects of wholeness: the confessional, volitional, emotional, and relational. Gradually the number was increased to include the conceptual and physical. Because of increasing demands on Bruce's time as President as well as a conference leader, speaker, and writer, Ralph Osborne was invited to the position of Executive Director in 1967. Ralph retained this position through the transitional years 1967-73, carrying major administrative responsibility as well as participating in the conference and LTI programs.

Up to this point the field of Faith at Work had not been carefully defined. Hence, planning got under way in the late sixties to try a more systematic penetration of congregational and denominational life. This led in the months and years that followed to three significant program steps:

The National Clergy Conferences, 1970
The Leadership Development Program, 1970
The Seminarian Program, 1972

Under the leadership of Faith at Work, and with some funding assistance from the Lilly Endowment, a series of clergy conferences was held in the spring of 1970 in six American centers: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York. A leadership team of 14 carried the responsibilities of program and of enablement. There were large sessions with personal modeling and sharing, afternoon workshops, and considerable personal counseling. But the main thrust of the conferences came in small group sessions of four participants which invited honest, open sharing and a great deal of affirmation and caring. Over two thousand pastors and their wives attended these conferences. In general the experience was most positive and Faith at Work was asked to do something like this for clergy and laity on a more intensive and permanent basis.


The result was the Leadership Training (Development) Program which was launched with another grant from the Lilly Endowment in the fall of 1970 and under the leadership of Karl Olsson. The year 1970-71 was used to develop a training institute model and in September 1971, the first Leadership Training Institute was held. Through 1976, 40 LTI's had been held throughout the United States and Canada with over 2,000 participants.

The main thrust of the LTI's was on the un-leader stance, accepting one's humanity and personhood as basic to relationships. The objectives of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-delight, of group building, and of discerning gifts governed the institute program. Here as elsewhere there was an effort to fuse Biblical faith with insights from the behavioral sciences....


By 1977 denominations, agencies, and the Chief of Army chaplains had entered into contracts for seven LTI's....

...the emphasis was less on inducing guilt than on recovering the fact of God's awareness and acceptance of us in Christ.


Still another shift came in the area of group process. The older order had seen the group as a place to air questions and to generate a spirit of fellowship and love, but had not perceived it as the arena of emotional struggle and growth. The newer order saw the group, at least potentially, as the microcosm of the Body of Christ, where one could dare to trust oneself to others, to share one's weaknesses and strengths, to confess, to confront, to affirm, to rejoice, to will, to weep, to pray, and to celebrate. In other words a place and a context where Christ was truly present to all in all. The Seminarian Program was a further effort to share the relational life style.


An explosion of small groups occurred during the 80s and 90s, fueled by Boomers entering their middle years. Twelve-step groups like AA, NA, OA, Al Anon and ACOA flourished widely, and suddenly there was new interest in the role Sam Shoemaker played in the early days of AA.

Other small groups included hospice support, mentoring, counseling, women's, spirituality, individual church study groups, and workplace quality circles. Many were initiated or led by people with Faith at Work background. New audiences reached for materials by Lyman Coleman, Bruce Larson, Lloyd Ogilvie, Elizabeth O'Connor, Marjory Bankson, Keith Miller, Amy Harris and others from the magazine. Like one candle lighting another, a sea of changed lives has spread far beyond the circles where Faith at Work began in New York City.



See also T-Groups

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