There is a growing hunger across the Christian community to find ways to listen to God and be faithful to God’s Leadings. Christian leaders are catching a vision that group discernment is an integral congregational skill for the empowered work of the church. While the culture around us is becoming more divisive and strident, God is calling the church to be a witness, an example to show a better way. But where does a leader start? And how does the leader help the congregation gain these skills?
Quakers (Friends) have been utilizing group discernment as the basis of decision making for over 350 years. They have learned through both their successes and their failures. Their perspective and practice of listening to God in community are a gift to the broader Christian community. The Leadership Institute for Group Discernment was formed in the realization that among the sponsoring organizations, there is a rich lode of practical experience and expertise for the community of faith. George Fox University has been the home of the Congregational Discernment Project underwritten by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Friends Center at George Fox Evangelical Seminary has been the hub of the Seminary’s understanding of Friends’ practices. Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends is experiencing a new empowerment through the process of group discernment in its local congregations and in the denominational organization.
GOOD NEWS Associates is a non-profit ministry that has been instrumental in promoting collaborative workshops and writing on group discernment. Drawing upon scholarship, practical expertise and lived-through experience of both the sponsors and the participants, the Institute hopes to capitalize on the synergy of these resources.
The Institute is a three and a half day experience to empower church leaders in group discernment. It will integrate theological, spiritual and practical organizational processes. Each participant is invited to bring both expertise to share and problems to be solved.