Seeking God's Will
Workshop Helps Set Direction
"For me personally within the church, this was something that I'd never been a part of before--to be among a group of people to see where the church is going, where we're headed, what we're doing, and how we're handling the members within to make God's kingdom come to light," says Barb Buser.
Buser is an elder at Brunswick Reformed Church in Ohio, where she was part of a congregational discovery workshop with other elders, deacons, and full-time church staff.
Brunswick Reformed used a process outlined by the RCA's denominational discernment team. Together, the leaders discussed three questions: Where is God working within you? Where is God working through you? Where is God working ahead of you?
To schedule a discovery workshop in your church with a Barnabas partner, contact Gerri Yoshida at email@example.com or (917) 721-6576. Learn how to lead a congregational discovery workshop in your church or get more information on the discernment process at www.rca.org/discernment.
Answering the questions "As we looked at where God was working within us, we were surprised at how easily the things came and how many things we could list that God had been doing, and how he was indeed working within us," says pastor Don Poest.
"It was invaluable to look at all of the things that the church has been doing, and what has been born in the church in terms of ministries that have happened," says Jackie Dalzer, another elder. "It's such a positive reflection of the way God works--putting people here and giving them the hearts for these ministries that really start to plant the seeds of growing his kingdom.
"It was just an awesome time of reflection and renewing God's work and what he's put us here to do."
Moving forward Poest says that through the workshop, the church was able to identify three specific ministries to focus on this year: a ministry to the elderly in the congregation, using social technology more effectively for outreach and pastoral care, and working with single moms.
"It's been a great process for us--very affirming, very helpful, very direction-giving for us," Poest says. "I certainly would encourage other churches to give it a try."
The RCA's discernment process Congregational discovery workshops are offered as part of the RCA's discernment process around its continuing call to mission and ministry. The process was designed to be led by congregational leadership, though a limited number of regional "Barnabas partners" have been trained to facilitate the workshops, as well.
The denominational discernment process will include a church-wide conference, "Conversations: Seeking God's Future for the RCA," February 10-12, 2012, in Orlando, Florida. For more information on that event visit www.rca.org/conversations.
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