The Start of Discernment!!
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers,[b] pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Cassie, Carson, Chris, Sam, and I are serving on discernment because we expressed interest and were recommended by members of the community. Last Monday night, we met to learn from Bret and grapple together with what it was we would be doing as the discernment team. We read this story from Acts, and several other biblical examples of a selection of leaders. Bret emphasized that during this process we will be relying on the Spirit to understand God’s will for Wesley in the following year. As discernment, we are not to use our own judgment as a group to compare our friends to human standards and expectations, but to be listening for God to guide us to make decisions based on God’s standards.
We believe that God calls us to discern for our community’s vision and leadership with a model that looks more like discernment than voting. Through our process of conversation and consensus building, we hope to allow the Holy Spirit to speak into decisions and shape the results.
To that end, we spent the night learning about our strengths as individuals and a team, and how they might apply to our discernment process (for example, we discussed that one strength shared by me, Carson, and Cassie, deliberative, leads us to seek a comprehensive evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of a choice, before making a decision. Bret, Chris, Cassie, and Sam also share the strength harmony, which can lead them to avoid perceived conflict like this kind of discussion. Now that we’ve discussed this as a team we can be aware of this possible tension on our team, and address it before it creates problems.)
In the same way that our CoGs have made covenants this year, our discernment team began working on a covenant together. We have committed to be real with each other, to center ourselves on God, and to be in prayer for our team and for all of Wesley, among other things. As we meet continue meeting we will refine the covenant and seek to live it out to strengthen our relations to each other, and our ability to listen for the Spirit’s movements.
Look forward to hearing more on our progress in the coming weeks, and be sure to reach out to any of us if you have any questions or comments!