The Crossroads Discernment Toolkit is a great resource for churches feeling called to engage in a season of discernment.
Whether your pastor recently left or your neighborhood has changed or a beloved program has come to an end, there are seasons in the life of every church when it’s appropriate to engage in an intentional season of focused discernment. Things have changed. So, where is God leading us now?
It’s challenging for even individual Christians to discern God’s will within the relatively narrow confines of their own lives. Attempting to discern God’s will as a community for a community is a whole ‘nother deal.
This is where the Crossroads Discernment Toolkit is really helpful.
Crossroads has options.
Crossroads contains over 20 small or large group activities to help with discernment, including:
A night of telling stories of God’s faithfulness in the past.
A script for listening to small groups reflect on the story of God’s work in a church.
A worship service of lament.
An activity to analyze changing community demographics.
A guide for naming losses, fears and hopes for the present and future.
There are so many options because every group and every reason and season of discernment is different. Wise facilitators will stitch together the right combination of five or six activities that suit their context.
Crossroads has a process.
It can be tempting to think the only question we need to ask is “Where does God want us to go now?” But wise leaders realize that discerning God’s will for the future requires attention to the past and present. It also requires careful listening to many voices. The way we frame the question has a lot to do with the kind of answer we get.
For that reason, the Crossroads Discernment Toolkit follows a process. It begins by introducing activities that help establish a foundation of good listening (to each other and to God). Only once a foundation of good listening has been laid, does the toolkit move to activities for reflecting on the past. As the toolkit makes clear, “Today is never just about today.” Our God is a God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Wise churches pay attention to the past, naming what they’ve experienced and raising it up for communal gratitude, lament and learning.
Once the past has been explored, the toolkit moves to activities designed to help churches understand their present. Who are we? What gifts, opportunities and challenges are present in our church, neighborhood and community? Naming the present helps us understand that following God’s leading requires stewarding what is so that God can move us toward what will be. Only once these foundational pieces are set in place does the group move toward asking what God intends for our future and moving toward making necessary decisions.