Friday, April 07, 2006

community discernment

One of the challenges at Opawa (Sunday morning) is how to allow community discernment to play a part in our life. It has historically been a “preach” and go home church, which offers a fairly individualistic approach to the Bible. Further, our size works against us. There were over 200 people at our blended Sunday morning service last Sunday. So the church has basically doubled in size in the last 2 years. Unless we ask them to go away, we have to think carefully about the different dynamics this presents for a conversation.

We’ve made a number of shifts to date;

1) introducing communal interactive involvement in response to preaching (heaps of examples under this heading)

2) sharing a combined lectionary reading among pastoral staff and inviting the church to join us (for more go here);

3) a home group that uses my sermon as their basis for discussion;

But it’s just a start. Later this year I’m going to try another approach; in which we gather not for a church “business” meeting, but for a church “Scripture” meeting. We would hear a sermon. Then we will use a process to enable application to be discerned as a community. What emerges will then be integrated into our focus and vision for the year ahead. Here’s some more detail of what I presented to our ministry leaders today

Posted by steve at 06:41 PM


  1. That is a fascinating approach. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I presume that this would be a well recieved move within your community. Is it likely that you would get 15 action points that would lead the church in a totally different direction to the one it is headed in at the moment. If that happens what would you think, and how would you respond.


    Comment by Graham Doel — April 7, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  2. It will be something new for our community Graham. I will emphasis that this both honours the Bible and our Baptist heritage in which the future of God is indeed among the people of God.

    As to what happens if the 15 action points lead us on a new direction … I will cross that bridge when I come to it. This is not about control or predicting outcomes, but calls for me as leader to respect and trust Bible, Spirit and community.

    Comment by steve — April 8, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

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