Essential tasks

  • Getting clear on the difference between deciding and discerning. Decisions are made by humans alone. In discernment humans invite the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as they formulate actions.
  • Establishing the key movements of team meetings. When there are good bones for search meetings, the search team develops spiritual muscle memory so that it defaults to seeking God’s wisdom when challenges arise.

Reflection questions

  • What reservations do we have about committing to discernment? How might we turn these over to God?
  • How might we create a worshipful context within which to complete the tasks of the search?
  • What agendas must we shed so that we can fully welcome the wisdom of the Holy Spirit?
  • What is the role of dissent in discernment?
  • What regular practices will keep us in discernment mode?

Best practices

  • Ensuring the search team gathering space is conducive to discernment
    • Quiet
    • Comfortable
    • Confidential
    • Bibles and other materials (e.g., candle, journals, art supplies) handy
  • Identifying or creating spiritual touchstones
    • Focal point in the team’s gathering space that serves as a visual reminder of the need not just to be faithful to a process but also to the person of Christ
    • Photos, timeline, notes on newsprint and/or other visuals utilized in congregational identity and direction discussions
    • Reminders of the liturgical season
    • Key scriptures
    • Images
  • Developing a meeting outline that weaves together spiritual disciplines and search tasks
  • Committing to individual spiritual disciplines in addition to corporate ones

From the candidate's perspective

  • Could be serving elsewhere with no thought of seeking a new position.
  • Could be seeking a new call and keeping ears perked for opportunities. Might begin tracking your congregation’s progress through the transition time and looking for a position announcement.

Are we ready for the next stage?

  • The search team grasps the basics of discernment.
  • The search team has named and committed to specific means by which individuals and the team will listen for the Spirit’s guidance.
  • The search team has encouraged every church member to be in conversation with God about the search process.

Go to next stage

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