Ministry Musings: Gathering The Insights

Before we turn to more-practical aspects of discernment, let’s review what we have said so far….

(1) Discernment is a cultivation of a heart for God.  It is not in essence a technique.  Insight flows from inclination.

(2) Becoming God’s person in a given situation is more than doing a particular thing in that situation.  Discernment is living out the fruit of the Spirit.

(3) Discernment is realzing that God’s will can be done in more than one way in a given situation.  We are not throwing darts in the dark or trying to thread a needle when seeking to know and do God’s will.

(4) We are co-creators with God, and our primary responsibility is to be attentive to God’s revelation and responsive to that revelation when we have it.

(5) We receive that revelation from Scripture, tradition, our community of faith, wise counsel, and previous experience.  Life builds upon previous life.

(6) Even with the best of intentions and the best of practices, we will still not “get it right” every time.  God knows this.  We must too.  Discernment includes the ability to stop, turn around, and try again.

With these foundational elements in place, we will now move on to look at some of the practical aspects of discernment.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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