Classis, the Summit, and Prayerful Discernment

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Will the aftermath of the Prayer Summit include followup by classes and classis prayer leaders?

The second Prayer Summit is over.  What did it mean?  What WILL it mean?   What will it mean for the Christian Reformed Church?  Have we been refreshed?  Motivated to pray?  Did we learn new things about how to pray?  Are we more unified?  More equipped for ministry?   I trust that those things and many more will deepen and enrich the life of the denomination.   But perhaps most of all I pray that the Prayer Summit means that we become more discerning about God’s call, and more discerning about our response.

In our prayer closets, in our council meetings, in classis and in synod, are we as a community moving toward greater discernment of God’s will and of our own corporate life as shaped in obedient response?  Classis is a regular event in the life of the church; every congregation gets to send representatives; more than almost anywhere else (except maybe synod) the purpose of this meeting is to make decisions for the good of the church.  Could there be a better place to practice?

I believe classis is one place where we need to cultivate our corporate capacity for Spiritual discernment.  Yes, I know, as soon as we start talking about the leading of the Spirit in concrete immediate situations, big questions pop up.  Isn’t this all pretty subjective?  What if it gets divisive? (and it will),  Occasions for pride and guilt will happen.  The stage will be set for second class Christians who don’t hear the Spirit in the same way I do.  And of course it makes things go slower….

And what about that common assumption that leaders must have a deep prayer life before they are able to lead in corporate discernment? 

Will we trust the Spirit to lead us?

In the run-up to this Prayer Summit, every classis was strongly encouraged to make sure a prayer coordinator was named for the classis.  At the Summit, regional meetings were held to encourage prayer networking among classes.   How can these coordinators be better employed by classes to encourage and equip for interceding, organizing, training, discerning, and the like?  How can classes take specific steps to deepen the prayer life of pastors, elders, deacons, congregations?  How can a denomination in the midst of so much change make sure that we are listening well, and submitting thoroughly to the leading of the Spirit? 

Does your classis intend to take specific follow-up steps?  Are you a prayer coordinator with a story to tell?  (We heard some good ones at the Summit!)  How about sharing some of your thinking here?  As we learn together, we can learn from each other’s experiences.   Will you share a story or a thought here?  I’d like to do some reflecting here about corporate prayer and group discernment.  Stay tuned.  And meanwhile….  I know there are folks out there with lots more experience than I have.  Will you please share your thoughts and your stories?  I pray you will. Thanks.

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