We often talk about God's will as if it's a treasure chest that we simply need to discover.
I'm guilty of this myself and have been thinking about it for a while. Often, when we're talking about the future, we'll say something like: "When we're finished discerning God's will for our future..." as if somewhere out there, there's this thing, kind of like a treasure chest, that we will discover, open, and find the answers to questions about our future direction. We just need to find that chest that contains God's will for our church, or ourselves, and we'll be on our way.
But discernment doesn't work that way and I think it's good for us to remember that. Regarding the future for a church or group, our Council (elders and deacons) is reading through Ruth Haley Burton's book, Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups.
Chapter 2 is about spiritual transformation and the need for each of us to personally engage in spiritual practices that bring us to a closer relationship with Christ. We looked at some tools we are going to use in order to do that—daily, personal prayer, and meditation, not only group efforts. That's one important piece of discernment.
I shared readings and questions from The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life (or online version here) by Kevin O’Brien, SJ, and Pastor Gil Suh shared an app he uses, Pray as You Go.
Below is an article that takes about 5 minutes to read with a real-life example of discernment and the steps involved. This is a personal example, but the concepts apply for groups, too.