The Wisdom House
Rob Parsons OBE, hodder/careforthefamily, 2015

£30.00 (Approx)
4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Because you don’t always have to learn the hard way.

‘The eight topics in The Wisdom House are hot! Whatever people’s personal beliefs are, they want to discuss them. So invite your friends and put the coffee on – listen a little, talk a lot, and above all, enjoy!’

Eight stand-alone 12-minute videos designed to help you build genuine friendships with people in your community and really listen to each other as you chat about everyday life issues.

What do you get?

DVD and group leader’s guide inside the DVD box. FREE if you commit to actually using it and running a community group – sign up for download. Editable posters available online.

Eight sessions:

  1. Wide-awake dreams
  2. Be my best friend
  3. Difficult people
  4. Love is something you do
  5. Forgiveness
  6. Living a life true to yourself
  7. The long walk home
  8. Thieves of joy

Book of the same name is available too, and would be a good backup for both leaders and participants.

Who is it for?

Adults, Enquirers, Beginning, Growing. Small group. Especially suitable for a mixed group of people, including Christians and those who would not call themselves so.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Neat, glossy booklet and well-produced DVD make for an engaging resource which could be used by just about anyone. Would make a great outreach tool to invite neighbours and friends to. Cringe-free and thought-provoking.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Very clear layout throughout. Introductory pages set out the expectations briefly but well.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Leader's guide booklet in DVD case. Includes careful notes for leaders where the topic may be sensitive or need extra attention. Good section on ‘Dos and don'ts when leading'. Helpful opening paragraph to each session. Icebreaker opens the session. There seems to be an extra ‘pause' section on the DVD between the Introduction which comes next (Jordan; three minutes) and the next feature which is the Animation (two minutes). Fifteen minutes' Discussion follows the Animation. Then it is Parsons with his ten - twelve minute' talk; and finally the longer Group Discussion (thirty minutes).

    Who could lead it?

    A leader who is good at enabling discussion, and isn't afraid of tackling potentially emotive topics in a sensitive manner.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Participants may want to obtain the book of the same name, upon which the study is based, which is written with Parson's usual engaging, effective and memorable style. But the DVD and leader's guide stand alone anyway.

    How good is any digital material?

    Smart production of DVD with a mixture of Rob sitting in an armchair in a study, talking, and a good animation for the telling of a short story to illustrate the topic. For some reason, the three-minute introduction by Diane Louise Jordan is repeated at the beginning of each session, but it could be skipped if wanted.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Familiarisation with material. Shouldn't take long. Set up of DVD. Prepare to make people welcome, especially if this is a new, invited group.

    Is there website support? Links?

    See option to obtain this resource for free if you commit to using it with a group. Editable posters available from www.careforthefamily.org.uk.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Light-hearted icebreakers to begin each session, and very good open discussion questions.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Mix of icebreaker (plus some additional group activity ideas), discussion and video – Parsons' presentation and Animation. Group members are encouraged to bring ‘one piece of wisdom' written on a piece of card to display.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Parsons does an amazing job of presenting the subjects in ways that are relevant to people – whether Christian or not. So this resource would suit a wide variety of adult groups, from established home or study groups, to groups set up specially. Perfectly suitable for inviting the neighbours around.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Discussion is the main thing here, plus opportunity for icebreakers.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Little directly, but the whole resource is based firmly on Christian principles and understanding of, for example, the nature of love.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    See above. The story is included of David preparing for battle with Goliath; plus the story of the Two Sons (The Prodigal). Parsons' effective telling of these stories is developed through the subsequent questions.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    As a resource which is equally suitable for churchgoers and those outside the church community, this is a gentle introduction to the Christian way of thinking about common experiences of life. Session 5 on forgiveness is particularly brilliant.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Based on Christian principles.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Parsons creates a real and relaxed atmosphere in which to consider common life issues, whether one is a Christian or not. The discussions would provide a chance for growth, no matter where one was starting. Excellent discussion questions throughout.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Topics are relevant to practical faith – if one is a Christian, and if not, there are enabling, non-threatening discussion questions. Each session finishes with a gentle, open, ‘God-related' question or two.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    A group of Christians would start in a different place to a mixed or outreach group; but this resource would work well for all. Great opportunity to talk about things we rarely do – for example, ‘Difficult people'.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Superbly well. Parsons gives us the chance to talk about issues that are common to all. The makeup and purpose of the group would determine how much they are related to faith.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Designed for use with any mixed group of people, especially community or invited groups – the closing questions give an opportunity to relate the topic to the concept of God. Session 7 builds on this with the story of the Two Sons, from which Parsons issues an invitation to all to come home to God.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    See above – this resource should enable new groups of neighbours and friends to get together over mutually relevant topics. Rob's easy style will set the tone for all to get involved.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    The topics are global, as they are relevant to all; though not specifically linked to other issues of our times.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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