Deconstructing Church Ministry (2): Corporate Discernment

As I engage in agile software development, I gradually learn that “trust” and “empowerment” are regarded as important principles. Power is decentralized into teams and we are given freedom to self-organize. We sometimes go through what’s called a “planning game,” in which everyone casts a vote expressing about how important and how feasible it is to do something, and the managers would trust our collective judgment and do the product planning accordingly.

I think mutual trust should be even more so in churches and in ministries. The Holy Spirit guides every believer into truth (John 16:13), and we are all asked to discern God’s will (Rom 12:2) and to test every spirit (1 John 4:1). Decision making in the church should not rest only on the shoulders of a few, but should be partaken by all mature believers.

In the book “Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America” (1998, edited by Darrell L. Guder), the author suggests that “the goal of decision making in the church is not simply to discover the will of the community, but instead to discern the will of God.” (p. 172) This decision making is not just a matter of distributing a survey or questionnaire to the believers. It is also not aimed to encourage the church-goers to think of themselves as consumers. Rather, “as the ekklesia of God, a people gathered and sent to be about God’s business, the church is called to a way of making decisions that articulates and correlates with listening, hearing, testing, planning, and obeying together in the power of the Holy Spirit …… it is important that all be involved in discerning what God requires of them.” (p. 173)

So what is the purpose of the leadership? The book went on to say: “The purpose of leadership is to form and equip a people who demonstrate and announce the purpose and direction of God through Jesus Christ.” (p. 183) I really like the words “equip” and “announce”: leaders are there to equip the believers to announce how they see God is moving them within the context their particular cultural and geographical locales.

But there’s more. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.

Deconstructing Church Ministry (1): Lessons From Agile SW Development
Deconstructing Church Ministry (2): Corporate Discernment
Deconstructing Church Ministry (3): Prepared For Change
Deconstructing Church Ministry (4): Examples