Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Designated Discernmentarian

Ruth Haley Barton has the audacity to suggest, “Just because something is strategic does not necessarily mean it is God’s will for us right now.”

In her new book, Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups (read my review here), she says that while most boards practice decision-making, God calls church and ministry boards to practice discernment.

If your board meetings are book-ended by prayer, but the big middle feels more corporate than Christian, this would be a soul-stretching book to discuss at your next board meeting or annual board retreat.

Barton says that every board needs a designated “discernmentarian” and a wise sage.  And before a group of Christ-followers can practice spiritual discernment together—that discipline must be resident in each individual’s walk with God. (Memo to the Nominating Committee!)

Practice “holy indifference,” counsels Barton. “At the beginning of any leadership discernment process, it is good to be reminded to ask for the grace to be indifferent to matters of ego, prestige, organizational politics, personal opinion, personal advantage or even ownership of a pet project.”

This might be the most important book you will read this year.

QUESTION: When we’re facing a fork-in-the-road decision, do we have the spiritual tools at hand to truly hear from God and practice “indifference” to our own personal views?

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