Discernment and Grounding

Beloved Church!

God, in what form should we continue as Trinity United Methodist Church?

That’s the discernment question we are asking in prayer, daily.

Trinity held our second discernment conversation after worship yesterday; we reviewed the work we did a week ago. We asked if the body wanted to revisit and possibly revise the discernment question. No, we’ll keep it.

Our little book …

Grounding in our Guiding Principle: I find the project of selecting a Guiding Principle for our work to be more complicated than we were ready to do – probably means that I wasn’t as clear in describing what a Guiding Principle was. Here’s how our little resource book, Discerning God’s Will Together puts it:

Grounding in a guiding principle jump-starts the process of discernment. The guiding principle is informed by the values, beliefs, and purpose of the discerning community. Boundaries are set. [i]

Our group didn’t want to limit the church’s course of seeking God’s will with any boundary short of Christ, but we want to ground ourselves firmly in Christ: offering Christ, embodying Christ, following Christ, faithfulness to Christ, being disciples of Christ. We didn’t come up with specific language, and were pressed for time, so I asked the body if they wanted me to come up with words to propose at our next session on April 7. I’ll be asking continued guidance on this, but at the moment that guiding principle feels something like this:

Whatever form we take as a church, we will follow Christ, grow in Christ, and embody Christ for the world.

Does that say what you wanted it to say? Is there a way it could be reshaped to say it better? Let me know what you think.

God, in what form should we continue as Trinity United Methodist Church?

Shedding our own desires, desiring nothing but God’s will. This will be an ongoing project and problem for us – it always is – but this week, in addition to asking the discernment question, we covenanted together to ask God for help in letting go of our own desires and preferences for what form the church should take, so that our outcome may be held more confidently to be in line not with our will, but with God’s will. Or rather, that we allow God’s will to become our will.

Next Sunday, March 31: There will be NO discernment conversation after worship. Instead, we’ll have our Spring Church Council meeting. The next discernment conversation will be Sunday, April 7.


THIS WEEK: Continue to pray,

God, in what form should we continue as Trinity United Methodist Church?

  • Ask it, and then sit in contemplative quiet, attentive for God’s will.

AND begin to pray:

God, show me my own preferences and stumbling blocks. Give me the grace to shed my own preferences, and to desire only your will.

  • Ask it, and then sit in quiet, listening for what stumbling blocks and preferences God shows you. Write them down, bring them to the April 7 session.

Next Sunday, March 31, after worship we’ll hold our Spring Church Council meeting. The next discernment conversation will be April 7.

Love,
Wes


[i]  Morris, Danny E., Discerning God’s Will Together (Kindle Locations 1063-1065). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s