In my “day job”, staff meetings are usually very efficient. We are there to get things done, and done quickly. Wasting time a mortal sin. I totally accept that approach. So I had to change a lot when I began to attend Oasis staff meetings. First of all, I have to always remind myself that the primary goal of our staff meetings is not to get business accomplished but to share and bond with each other. Secondly, it is a means of developing consensus on how we try to achieve our mission. For that reason even minor changes to operating procedures require at least three meetings before there is a clear sense of direction.
Staff meetings can also passionate because our staff care so much. Yesterday we had an enthusiastic discussion on the challenging issue of how strict to hold to the rules about access to Oasis food. Some advocated with feeling about the primacy of putting an individual’s needs first. After all, Jesus was definitely not rules orientated; the person always came first. Others argued with equal fervour about the need to be fair to the entire Oasis community (not just oiling the squeaky wheel) and our mandate to empower people rather than fostering dependency by immediately meeting every request. I am pretty sure this is not the last time we will have that discussion.