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

In and Out

The summer, we are working through a number of discernment processes in our church. In fact, if we can survive these changes, it greatly increases my confidence in this process. First, we are altering the church budget. In order to bring expenses in line with income, we will be making drastic reductions in our budget. These reductions may include reduction of staff and increased volunteer involvement in significant areas. The decision has the potential to create significant conflict. Secondly, we are adjusting our music rehearsal schedule. We are reevaluating resources of staff and volunteers to create a sustainable schedule for various music groups. Again, this decision has the potential to create antagonism. Due to the complexity of these decisions, we have revised the discernment process.

We are discovering that we need to sometimes move in and out of the stages. For instance, in both of these processes, we have needed to shift between the Listen and Examine stage. In other words, we created a listening strategy. We examined the findings of that strategy and determined that we needed to listen more. We found ourselves maneuvering in and out of these stages.

It is apparent that this process is not so cut and dry. It merely serves as a guide. It helps prod us toward decision. We have to be careful that we do not get bogged down in one stage. At the same time, we need to allow for transfer in and out of each stage (particularly the Listen and Examine stage) being careful to not rush the process.

As we move through the summer, I will continue to update this blog. I’m learning more about the process, it strengths and benefits as well as its limitations and need for flexibility.