Starting the year off right: setting the Rules of the Road

As churches begin a new program year, I thought church leaders might find this Rules of the Road protocol useful in situations beyond the Confirm not Conform program. It’s not just for youth either. I can think of a vestry or two for whom this might be useful. Feel free to adjust this protocol as necessary to fit your particular circumstances.

Discussion: Rules of the Road

Explain that CnC involves a lot of group discussions and individual and group projects. The success of the class will depend on the degree to which everyone participates. As a result, it’s important that, right from the start, the group decides how it wants to work together.

Ask the class to take a moment, in silence, to think about:
■ how they would like to be treated if they were sharing an idea or giving a report
■ when or whether it’s fair for some people to participate and for others to just
■ how everyone should behave during general discussions

Ask the group to name the rules they think should apply.

Write down each rule they suggest on whiteboard or chalkboard. Don’t make edits at this point, even if rules are repetitive or confusing.

Write down other rules you think should apply, and explain why they should be included.

Once the list is complete, go through the list with the group. For each rule, ask whether it:
A) is a good rule and should stay
B) doesn’t seem necessary, or
C) is covered by another rule already approved

Some rules you might want to suggest:
We will honor everyone’s time and start and end the class on time.
We will be on time for each class.
We will participate in discussions and risk offering our thoughts and ideas.
We will treat the thoughts and ideas offered by others with respect.
Only one person talks at a time.

Copy the rules the group voted to keep onto a second sheet titled Rules of the Road and keep it posted in the classroom for each CnC session.

[We use this in the first lesson of Confirm not Conform, which you can download in its entirety. Take a look. ]