The verdicts on our cafe church on Sunday night are universally positive.
People have spoken of the inclusive atmosphere, the valuing of all contributions, the stimulating nature of the input, the mixture of serious discussion and humour.
So it's down to me to enter the caveats, I guess (though I'm sure others are on their way!).
Firstly, it took a lot of work. If you're ging to do anything like this, set aside three or four working days and get people to help. A small group generating ideas with individuals going off to work ideas up into timed contributions is the best way of doing this. Also be aware of the sheer physical effort of reconfiguring the seating and putting it all back again afterwards.
Secondly, we prepared far too much material for Sunday evening. And it was difficult to edit as we went along. Consequently, I think we overran by at least 20 minutes - though one group who were still talking half an hour after it finished, said they thought it was too short!
So, I think the small group needs to generate ideas, get some of them worked up a bit and then edit out the ones that aren't absolutely top-notch.
I also thought we needed to leave more space to let things sink in. For example, we had a good piece of drama, excellently performed, but weren't able to leave space around it for people to ponder its impact.
Thirdly, I felt that it was a bit static. people sat for the best part of two hours (though no one complained aboutb that). I would like to get people moving at the next one. My thought is that we'll have three areas of operation, with everyone all together for some of the time and dispersed around the zones at other times.
Those are small caveats really. I thought the evening went really well. My major headache is that we've no room for growth in our space. we had 130-ish in our worship area and it was full! Apart from knocking the building down and building a bigger one (not an option), what can I do to fit more people in?