Church Innovations’ Partners Post

September 23, 2009

A new year begins

To our dear Bremer Grant Congregation Partners:

Greetings! It’s fall and I’m back to weekly posting on Wednesday mornings.

I hope your summer provided you with rest and refreshment.


I was at the Convention Center during the ELCA churchwide assembly as a member of the ELCA’s Task force on Communal Discernment. Our job was to collect stories from people who had had experiences of corporate spiritual discernment. We got 11 such stories in two days of asking. The Task Force is seeking to help the ELCA discover ways in addition to Roberts Rules of Order for a church body to make decisions for action.


It is my hope that the congregations in this Bremer-funded project might be able to teach many others, including this Task Force, what it means to do spiritual discernment as a habit or practice of church life, and how, when a congregation encounters something requiring a decision, prayerful listening can lead to communal discernment on that issue.  Our group will surely have stories to tell. 


A local church cannot embark on those habits without first knowing how things really are in the congregation and its surrounding community, so all of your work in Congregational Discovery and the Church FutureFinder project have given you a way to be honest about where you’re starting from. This year’s work will be to move a step closer to forming habits and innovating capacity for leadership that strengthens the congregation by keeping discernment of the Spirit’s leading central to our attention. What we want to do is to keep The Main Thing the main thing.      Peace. Pat

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