I just finished this book yesterday. It was good. I was reading it for the purpose of trying to learn more about how to go through a process of spiritual discernment and decision making in a group context – thinking about application to our group of elders in our local church body.
The main point of the first part of the book was that individuals in a group need to be growing in spiritual transformation personally as a first step and practicing discernment in their own lives. The importance of the practice of spiritual disciplines was emphasized.
In terms of leadership groups in churches or non-profit organizations, it is important to clarify the most important values of the community/group. Here are some other key points:
- Our commitment to love must be primary
- Discernment is not about what we think or prefer or are comfortable with. Rather, it is about seeking the mind of Christ.
- We should seek “indifference” in the matters that come up for decision: meaning that we should seek to not be too tied to any one outcome but wanting God’s will most of all and being open to the possibility that might not line up with our desire(s)/control/approval
- Spiritual leadership is not about our leadership but about seeking the mind of Christ
- Listen to others (and to God)
- Do not interrupt (and do not formulate what you will say next while someone else is speaking)
- If someone hasn’t spoken, consider asking that person what he/she thinks
- Leave space for anyone who may want to speak a first time before speaking a second time yourself
- Hold your desires/opinions lightly and be willing to be influenced by others
- Allow for quiet times of silence after people have spoken in order to process/evaluate the ideas discussed
There are many more particulars discussed in the book about going through a process of gathering information, listening to each other, listening/praying to God and making the decisions.
I enjoyed the book. It is the type of book that was written with a very specific purpose. It seems like a good book for a leadership team at a church or Christian non-profit organization to read through and discuss. The whole discernment process can be adopted or just some elements could be adopted which fit a particular group.
I’m off to help my youngest son with his project on making a model of an element from the periodic table (nitrogen in his case).