Discerning a Path Forward
Finding Your Way in This New World
Discerning the Spirit’s Invitation for your Congregation
Many different factors shape and influence the decision-making process of congregations. Some are positive, while others are less than healthy.
It is easy for things like fear of the future, stressed finances, and the personalities of key leaders to negatively impact future plans.
At APITC we believe the healthiest way for congregations to make decisions is a process of discernment. Discerning the Spirit’s invitation for the people who gather for worship within your community.
Too often churches settle for a “shortcut” by trying to duplicate a ministry plan that worked in another context while being led by different leaders. We believe the Spirit has a beautiful, unique plan for your community!
Let us work with your team to discern the Spirit’s invitation for today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
How We Can Help
Deciding a Specific Issue
Is your community wrestling with a difficult decision? Does your normal decision-making process result in “winners and losers?” Let us guide you through a discernment exercise that seeks to find the Spirit’s invitation and build consensus.
Discerning a Ministry Focus
Does it feel like time to adapt or change your ministry focus? Is there a group passionate about a new direction, but leadership has concerns about adding another effort to an already busy workload? Let us help guide the conversations.
Life in a Post Pandemic World
Are you finding it hard to recognize the congregation you lead in this post-pandemic world? Do you have a nagging sense that this season is filled with opportunity while your community is focused on returning to what was? We can help you discern the Spirit’s invitation for ministry in this day and age.
Celebrating Your History, Charting a Path For The Future
Is your congregation getting ready to celebrate a significant anniversary or ministry success? Celebrating the Spirit’s faithfulness is the perfect time to begin a discernment process focused on future ministry.
How we think about the discernment process
It is not uncommon for the leadership and decision-making process of congregations to reflect what takes place in the business world.
All truth is God’s truth. We believe there are lessons and best practices we can learn from the corporate world.
Yet, the reality remains that your congregation is a spiritual community. How you plan, prepare, and make decisions needs to reflect your spiritual foundations.
A Place in the Conversation can help your community rediscover the spiritual foundation that should guide everything you do.
The following three ideas shape how we think about planning and decision-making. They will guide us as we work together to unleash the best future the Spirit has envisioned for your community.
"Catching" a wave of the Spirit
Jesus told stories that revealed deep spiritual truth. Every now and then we come across an image that helps us capture the heart and mind of God.
Pastor Rick Warren gave me (Dan) one of those images. He speaks of finding the waves of the Spirit of God in our world and riding those waves as long as they last.
Much like a surfer cannot create a wave, we cannot force the Spirit to move. Our challenge is to wait and watch for the Spirit to rise up like a wave, and then lend our energy to the Spirit’s work.
Our facilitators can help your team discern the waves of the Spirit in your community.
Seasons of Service
Understanding and recognizing the seasons of service will help grow a healthy community focused on achieving its vision.
Helping people listen to Spirit, self, and others is core to our understanding of what makes for a healthy community.
Listening while going about the everyday tasks of living, learning, laboring, and launching.
The goal is to grow in each area. To see and celebrate how they work together to move you toward healthy growth.
A Discernment Process
Teams, groups, and organizations can make decisions in a myriad of different ways. It is not uncommon to follow Robert’s Rules of Order.
Consensus building and working together to discern the Spirit’s leading can be challenging but very rewarding.
The APITC team has adapted a Quaker Decision Making Process to focus on the importance of discerning the Spirit’s invitation.
Our facilitators can teach your team how to work together to build consensus and discern the Spirit’s invitation for your congregation.