Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit


We are moving along with our work on developing a process of discernment. However, the deeper I get in this process, the more complicated it seems. I am sure that we cannot pin this topic down to a commodified process. In the same way, agreeing on a system of practices seems helpful.

This week, I am reading Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People by Dorothy Bass (ed.). She describes practices as tangible acts that enable us to live life as God intends. In her words, she explains,

Practices are those shared activities that address fundamental needs of humanity and the rest of creation and that, woven together, form a way of life. (Loc. 406)

We live in crazy busy cycles of life. We have neglected the ancient practices that have brought meaning to those who came before us. In their book, this group of scholars addresses twelve of these practices. As I explore their work, I am struck by our lack of intentionality to live out these practices. Perhaps we have morphed into business-like models of functioning because we have no other compass in our decision-making. Perhaps we fail to sense the movement of the Spirit because we don’t take time to seek the Spirit in our daily living. We neglect Sabbath, resist hospitality, fail to draw boundaries around our time and commitments; we are trapped in a faced-paced world that does not value Christian practices. How can we break free? How can we learn to make time to live this way?

As we consider mapping out a discernment process for our church leaders, it seems that implementing Christian practices into our lives needs to be central. Our decision-making may be as much about what we do outside our meetings as what we do inside of them. Our ability to lead the church may be as much about how we live out our faith in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities. Keeping Sabbath, living out hospitality, learning to worship daily, attending to God’s creation may be the fuel in our decision-making.

If you have a chance to read Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People, I would love to hear your feedback.