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Background: from November 2020 to June 2022, nearly 2500 people met in more than 300 small groups across more than 80 CRC congregations to participate in Challenging Conversations listening circles. These circles helped participants listen deeply to each other and to the Human Sexuality Report as they prepared for Synod to meet in June 2022. Pastor Church Resources has now launched Challenging Conversations: Next Steps Discernment, a substantial revision and expansion of Challenging Conversations intended to help you hold grace and truth as you discern and decide what Synod’s decision means for you or your church. 

What Just Happened?

If you’re wondering what Synod’s decision means for you or your church, you’re not alone. Councils, officebearers and individuals across the US and Canada are trying to make sense of what this means and where they go from here.  For some, Synod’s decision has strengthened their relationship with their denomination. For others, Synod’s decision has weakened or complicated their relationship with the denomination in some significant way. 

How Do We Go From Here?

Recognizing that the decisions people are trying to make are complex and important, it is all the more necessary to consider these decisions within the context of an intentional, collaborative, spiritual discernment process. 

Often, we worry a lot about what we decide, but we give much less thought to how we arrive at that decision. Alas, a lot of harm can be done when we only pay attention to the answer but neglect the process for discerning and deciding. Even with well-meaning people in charge, poorly planned decision making can make a mess.

  1. Decisions can be made anxiously before the group is ready (rush).
  2. They can be made without taking time to listen to important voices (hush).
  3. Or the process can be so unclear (mush) that people mistrust otherwise decent decisions.

That’s why Pastor Church Resources developed Challenging Conversations: Next Steps Discernment.

Next Steps exists to supplement your council’s decision making about next steps by providing practices, prompts, and a pathway for intentional congregational discernment. When followed, Next Steps should help your church clarify core issues, generate trust, and honor God, regardless of what final decision is adopted. 

To sign up for facilitator and council training, register here

To read answers to frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ section

If you have other questions, email us at [email protected].

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