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

The Listening Stage

We met again last night to develop a listening strategy. A listening strategy is the plan to hear voices around us. It includes listening to outsiders, to the congregation, to God. It might seem strange to have a strategy for listening. Yet, we emphasize this stage because we often fail to listen. Both change and conflict literature and our own historical interviews highlight the need to listen. The strategy should address the various sources we need to hear; too often we listen to lone voices. We make a decision because another church went a particular direction. Or we decide based on what a few loud voices state at a church business meeting. Or we move in directions that make sense to us without taking the time to listen to others.

The plan developed was a comprehensive finite period of listening. It includes a survey of the congregation, planned worship experiences around the decision, a twenty-four hour prayer vigil, and research (including community, budget, and denominational research). We will pause our preferences and open our ears.

The period of time for this particular decision is three weeks. Some decisions may require longer periods of time. I will keep you updated as we move through this process.