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

Implementing with Open Ears

I wanted to update you on the status of our recent decision to change our Sunday morning schedule. We are planning on making the change the week after Easter. It has been a long road of listening, discerning and listening a bit more. Yet it seems that it is time to pull the trigger on the change. With most of the congregation supportive, a leadership team ready to make any unforeseen adjustments and a natural shift in seasons (Spring), it seems that the timing is right.

Yet it is worth noting, a decision is never really over. In our discernment process, the final stage is about communication. Once a decision has been reached, it is important to tell the story of the process. Why did we make this decision? How did God seem to be leading us as we discerned? Especially for those who were minimally involved in the process, they need to hear the story over and over again. But the decision is not closed. While it probably doesn’t make sense to go back to the drawing board, the posture of implementation is one of open ears. Were their facets of the decision that we did not consider? Is there new information that may prompt us to tweak the implementation? The final stage is one of communication, but it also one of continual listening.

This might seem confusing, especially to those who are type A personalities (like myself). We like to decide and then get it done. The last thing we want to do is receive new information that may require us to adjust. We like a well devised plan; we like to execute. I am not suggesting that we constantly question our decision. Certainly, God was involved in the process and led us to this place. Yet, we must recognize that God continues to speak, to act, to move. Is there more to learn? I am almost sure of it. Do we have it all figured out? Probably not.

All this to say that the discerning process is continual. Sure we make decisions and implement those decisions. But we must be careful to keep open ears to God’s continual speaking into the decisions we have made. We might be required to adjust as we move forward. This probably makes little sense from a business leadership perspective. Yet we are a spiritual community constantly seeking the direction of our Father. May God give us the patience and persistence to discern his ways. As church leaders, we are not simply here to make efficient organizations or to please the most people. We are called to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, we strive to be a community of faith collectively discerning God’s movement. May we each pray, as we discussed Sunday morning in worship, David’s prayer.

(Psalms 19:14 NIV) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.