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


Last night, I met once again with my MSG (Ministry Support Group). We are in the middle of developing a decision-making process. We hope to have it ready for testing by August 1. The more we work toward this, the more complicated it seems. There are so many dynamics that must be considered.

One of the key points raised in last night’s meeting was in the area of listening. We discussed the lack of distinction between listening to God and listening to each other. God speaks in various ways. We cannot simply sit down and have an audible conversation with God. Sure, praying is listening; but God speaks in other ways. He speaks through other people, through Scripture, in circumstances. We felt that listening to God is not a defined stage, rather an ongoing posture of the entire process.

We also talked about the need to listen to those outside of the organization. As we contemplate directions, it is important to create ways to hear from those who are not inside the church.

Listening is a major component of the process. However, it seems to be one stage rather than two, as initially outlined. Yet the stage includes three components, all interrelated. We will need to create space to listen to each other, outsiders, and God. I am not sure how we will create mechanisms for this to occur, only that this is a stage.

As the process stands, it includes four stages. Exploring is the first stage; outlining the options and the necessity of the decision is the task. Secondly, we listen; we have an open-ear posture to discover what others and God are saying to us. Thirdly, we examine ourselves by checking our tendencies; you can read more about this in [another post](http://www.discerningchurch.org/drafting-a-process/ “Drafting a Process Discerning Church”). The decision is made following the third stage. Finally, the fourth stage is communicating; we continue to share the story of what God has been doing among us. In this final stage, we reflect on the decision and continue to clarify its significance.

We meet again next week to continue our work on this process. I will keep you updated.