Discernment is an important word for the Church across all generations and seasons: the work of sorting through (information, events, purposes, intentions, actions, etc.) with the Spirit’s help to understand God’s call and work.

Reading our colleagues’ thoughts around the RevGalBlogPals’ blogging network can be an inventive & insightful method for generating questions for discernment in our individual church contexts. So if you’re working on a visioning process in your congregation, if you’re looking for purposeful questions to provide a new lens on next year’s church budget, if your congregation is experiencing significant transition, or if you want some questions to file away for future reference, muse through your colleagues’ posts for inspiration:

+ Read achurchforstarvingartists and reflect on your church’s practices (or not) of valuing its employees. Does the church pay a livable wage? Does it have clear processes for grievance and affirmation?

+ Read Sandpiper’s Thoughts and explore why your church was built (as a community, as a building) in the first place. What keeps your church together? How do its structures help or hinder its balance?

+ Consider Gleanings of a Glens Girl‘s reflection on a beloved work of fiction, and then consider how your church’s worship services provide direction to those who attend. Does the message of Good News in worship assume a known destination? How does worship support those whose next steps are unknown and unpredictable? 

+ Something to Say offers a powerful image of God that could prove useful in considering the essentials of a church’s programs or of its ministries. What are the noises & distractions that God is annihilating in your church? What might happen if the church yields to a spirit of silence?

+ If yours is a predominantly white congregation that feels recently wakened to its own racism, Good News in the Wilderness might provoke useful questions for your church. How is the congregation exorcising its racism with an urgency that does not assume immediate healing but rather a continuous journey?

What questions is God raising for your congregation these days? What metaphors in daily life are proving particularly useful for your church’s discernment? Add your own ponderings in the comments, and be sure to post appreciation on these colleagues’ blogs.

Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

One thought on “Friday Festival: Questions for the Church

  1. I had Elizabeth Liebert for many of my spirituality classes and she taught the discernment classes in my spiritual direction program. I have found discernment, in many meetings etc, to be thought of as “we got the majority vote” therefore we discerned where/what the Spirit was nudging us.

    Elizabeth’s books are so very helpful in understanding what discernment is and is not along with examples and some how to’s.

    Soul Discernment is focused on the history and tradition of discernment and deals with personal discernment.

    The Way of Discernment is focused on groups, structures, and institutions using discernment to make decisions as a group.


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