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Learning Networks

Posted by Lucy Moore on 28 Nov 2008

Our Mission Shaped Ministry course advocated 'learning networks' so emphatically that some of us who are on the course and lead Messy Churches in the south have formed a Facebook group to help us link up. Next year we hope to form a proper official Learning Network within Fresh Expressions for the wider Messy Church network - should be up and running next spring. Marie Beale, who leads a Messy Church in the Wirral, helpfully sent the following in response to my blog on 21 Oct:

People either love or hate it, but like it or not Facebook is an excellent social networking tool. I have found it useful in a few ways...

  • Being able to get back in contact with long-lost now adult members of the youth group
  • Getting to know Mums from the parent and toddler group I run in a deeper way - seeing what is happening with them day to day prompts the right question to ask at the right time, allows one to offer encouragement and support, and spot quicker when something is going wrong.
  • Using my status as a reminder to folk - it's Messy Church tomorrow, and also to build a sense of anticipation/curiosity through making bizarre comments...

The events tool is a major plus... through it you can invite anyone on Facebook to an event you or others have set up, they can reply or comment or ask more. I have found this allows me to invite folk I perhaps haven't seen for a while in a way which feels natural and not pushy to them. It has also helped us to gage numbers quite successfully!

There are dilemmas about folk posting photos of kids in a group, if you are setting one up make sure you set out guidelines on this...