In becoming a “missional” congregation, there are 5 steps to engage in: Encounter, Discover, Envision, Experiment, Evaluate and Renew. The first one – Encounter – “creates safe and sacred space for the congregation to encounter God’s Spirit, each other, and the surrounding community.”* The Spiritual Practices introduced the last few weeks are only a few of the many ways that we can encounter the divine Spirit, which is the foundational, ongoing step in seeking God’s guidance.
For this week’s “Leading Mission Tip,” let’s talk about how we encounter each other as a congregation. Sometimes asking questions is the best way of becoming aware of what we are doing and envisioning a new future with the Spirit’s promptings. Here are a few to consider as a congregation:
-How do we intentionally create opportunities to deepen relationships with one another?
-What might God desire to reveal to us about our sacred journey as a congregation?
-What dimensions of our congregational experience have significant meaning for us and will help maintain a foundation to build on for the future?
Find a time when the congregation meets together in which we begin with a Spiritual Practice (see previous week’s Tips) and then lead into a discussion of the above questions. It could be after a potluck meal, after a church service, on a Saturday, or some other time. If there is no such time, this will be the first step – to find a time in which discussion can occur.
IMPORTANT reminder: Make sure everyone understands the principles of respectful discussion – Speak for oneself, rather than disagreeing with another person’s ideas; Speak and listen one at a time; Establish a basic time limit for any one person to speak, so all have opportunity; Have someone write down the ideas for future reflection and/or decisions by congregational leadership. Don’t rush to make decisions! Allow plenty of time (months?) for open discussion and discernment of God’s will.
*Ideas for “Leading Mission Tips” come from the missionalleaders.org site and Michigan Mission Center materials.