Community Spiritual DiscernmentTraining Program:
Equipping Church Leaders for
Why a focus on spiritual discernment in the faith community?
There is an increased interest in creating structures that reclaim the rich Christian heritage of spiritual discernment for discovering God’s call in the life, mission, and ministry of churches.An attentiveness to spiritual discernment means the church leaders (clergy and laity) want to give primary focus to seeking God’s guidance and call in being a community of faith and shaping its present activities and movements into the future.
What can we expect in this process?
Phase 1:Start-up Planning
Discussion with church leaders about the church’s history related to it’s deliberation and decision-making structure, and any current issues calling for discernment. Agreement with the church board and clergy about the timetable for development and the general structure envisioned.This agreement should include a decision about whether the church board and clergy are going to be the primary ongoing discernment body, or if there will be an advisory group charged with responsibility to meet on an ongoing basis and bring discernment recommendations to the board and clergy, or if the board and clergy will be the agents for communal discernment and a separate discernment group will be formed for the church’s discernment support for individual concerns.Thus a separate discernment group may serve the church in two capacities: as a “clearness committee” for individuals seeking clarity in personal discernment and as practitioners of communal discernment and a council of advisers for community questions. If there is a discernment group for the church separate from the board and clergy, preliminary selection of members of the community’s discernment team and design for structural incorporation of the discernment team’s findings into decision-making process will need to be considered.The finalization of these considerations will happen in phases 3 and 4.
Phase 2: A congregation-wide formation program on individual and communal spiritual discernment.
Teaching about the Christian tradition of spiritual discernment, seeking God’s will in the context of our lives as individuals and as a community of faith, sets the groundwork for developing a deeper ability to be a discerning community.This teaching time is open to all church members and should include church leaders.Included in this formation period will be an exploration of the community’s own history of decision-making and attempts at discernment of God’s will. This part of the formation program requires 6-8 hours.It can be done in a workshop format as teaching days or as a series in an adult forum.
Phase 3:Further training and discernment practice by the church’s discernment group (with additional community involvement as determined by the group) under the consultant’s mentoring.
The structure, frequency of meetings, and amount of time with the consultant
will be negotiated with the discernment group (and board/clergy leadership
Phase 4:Ongoing incorporation of the discernment processes into the governing structure of the church with consultant assistance as needed.
Who provides this service?
The Rev. Daniel Prechtel, DMin., founder and senior associate spiritual director of Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries, offers this ministry as a church consultant and spiritual mentor to church communities guided by eleven years of pastoral experience as an Episcopal church rector, advanced study in spiritual formation and guidance, over fifteen years of practice as a spiritual director for individuals and groups, and his abilities as an experienced trainer and mentor to new spiritual directors and church leaders.
How do we get more information or explore getting started?
Contact the Rev. Dan Prechtel to discuss this program.He can be reached at:
Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries
phone: 510.230.0833 (office) or 224.636.2874 (cell)
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