Crossroads Discernment Toolkit: Not Just for Hard Times

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The Crossroads Discernment Toolkit, a collaboration between Resonate Global Mission and the CRCNA’s Pastor Church Resources (PCR), provides a menu of tried and true group activities that can help a church engage the past, name the present and discern God’s will for the future. 

Wise leaders know intuitively that churches need a clear sense of future vision. Wise leaders also know that future vision needs to be cast in conversation with what God has done in the past and what God is revealing about the present. 

But walking a small leadership team, let alone a whole congregation, through an intentional process of discernment can feel like a daunting task. There is so much that can go wrong.

  • You want wide participation, but you don’t want to reduce discernment to a popularity vote.  

  • You want God’s leading to be clear, but you don’t want to enable manipulative God-talk.

  • You want every voice to be heard, but you don’t want a couple squeaky wheels getting all the attention. 

  • You want to be attentive to the past, without drowning in nostalgia. 

  • You want to name honest, hard truths about challenges without wallowing in doom and gloom. 

  • You want a vision to be aspirational but not so removed from current reality that people can’t see themselves in the vision. 

Because this work is challenging, PCR and Resonate compiled over 20 of their favorite group activities to help councils and congregations have better, structured discernment that, when well-facilitated, can move a church toward clarity about what God has done, is doing and intends to do in our community. 

Originally conceived as a resource for churches contemplating the possibility of closure, Crossroads sometimes suffers a branding problem. But Amy Schenkel, Great Lakes Regional Leader for Resonate and one of the primary authors and practitioners of Crossroads is clear, “This toolkit is not just for churches thinking about closing.” Rather, Schenkel and co-author, Dave Den Haan, observe that the toolkit would be ideal for any time when a church found itself needing help to ask and answer hard questions about mission and identity. 

In other words, the Crossroads Discernment Toolkit contains a menu of activities which can be tailored to suit churches in all kinds of seasons of discernment. 

Crossroads would be invaluable: 

  • To a church’s transition team after a lead pastor or prominent staff person left.

  • To a council in a season after a beloved program at the church came to an end. 

  • To a leadership team when an idea to adapt, change or expand facilities began percolating. 

  • To a ministry staff when a major change came to the church’s neighborhood or community. 

To learn more about the Crossroads Discernment Toolkit, visit crcna.org/crossroads or e-mail Pastor Church Resources at [email protected] 

The Crossroads Discernment Toolkit: Not Just for Hard Times

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Thanks Resonate and PCR for this new resource, an important one in all times, but especially in this ministry moment