In Discernment, the third artform of the Public Church Framework, we move into the space between our neighbors’ stories, God’s story, and our story. In this movement we learn how to listen for who God is calling us to be and what God is calling us to do in light of the present reality and God’s promises.
Why is it important?
Discernment is important because our neighbors’ realities matter, our realities matter, and because we believe God has something to say about all of this. God is actively and continually trying to teach us how to live an abundant life together.
The opportunities to practice discernment are abundant, ongoing, and mundane. Without intentionally, the moments of discernment might appear as simple decision making. Many people desire to live their lives with more intentionality: to make informed decisions about how they show up in community, how they steward their resources, how they participate in their families, neighborhoods, and societies. etc. We believe God calls us into a thriving, abundant life together and we believe God has uniquely gifted us and called each of us to participate in bringing that abundance into a lived reality for our neighbors. Discernment teaches us to be attentive to and responsive to that call and that good work.
What is it?
Discernment is a communal process of listening to God’s spirit for the next most faithful step forward.
It is a prayerful, communal practice of critically seeking to determine how to respond to opportunities God has placed before us. It is different from decision making. It involves an intentional process that includes listening to three threads: God’s Spirit, the neighbors’ reality, or demands, and your reality. These three threads have been the stories and themes that have emerged from practicing Accompaniment and Interpretation. Discernment is the movement where we take stock of what’s emerged and what we’re being called towards. Which must include a realistic assessment of our own realities. What gifts do we bring? What limitations do we have? Continue reading “The Artform of Discernment”
In the second artform of the Public Church Framework, Interpretation, we move into listening to God’s story and we spend time articulating our faith community’s core biblical and theological commitments. We reflect on how our theological commitments shape the way we hear our neighbor’s story, and how our neighbor’s story shapes our theological commitments.
How do we do it?
We’ve categorized interpretation into four different layers:
- Identify the most important things we heard in accompaniment.
- Identify our most important theological themes.
- Connect what we heard in accompaniment with theological themes that are similar.
- Ask ourselves how these theological themes help us understand what we heard in accompaniment and vice versa.
This blog post will focus on steps one and two, identifying the key themes from accompaniment and identifying the theological themes of our faith community.
Continue reading “The Artform of Interpretation”
Accompaniment is the first artform of the Public Church Framework. It is the movement out into the neighborhood to hear the neighbors’ stories. In this movement, we learn to engage and listen to the neighbor for the neighbor’s sake.
This following blog post shares some resources to practice accompaniment in your context. To read more about why we practice accompaniment, read this blog: “Accompaniment It’s Who We Are (You Got This!)”
We’ve simplified and categorized accompaniment into four layers, or four different practices to hear the neighbors’ stories: demographic data, neighborhood prayer walk, listening posts, and one to ones.
Practices of Accompaniment
Demographic data helps tell the story of your neighborhood. Demographic Data can help you know more about the
challenges our neighbors face — and the assets that are available in a community. A pitfall to avoid when learning about demographic data is the assumption that knowing about the neighborhood is the same and knowing the neighbors.
Neighborhood Prayer Walk
The practice of a neighborhood prayer walk is a prayer exercise that invites you to walk through the neighborhood with particular attention to moments of desolation and moments of consolation. Moments of desolation are times of sorrow, brokenness, fear, anxiety, etc. Moments of consolation are times of hope, healing, courage, peace, etc.
Listening posts are places in the neighborhood where people gather to hear and share stories. Some examples of listening posts include soup lunches, local schools, neighborhood businesses, parking lots, local bars, neighborhood association meetings, open mic nights, bike shops, libraries, rivers and parks, neighborhood gardens.
One to One Relational Meeting
A one to one is an intentional, curiosity-driven conversation with someone you want to know, or get to know more deeply. The primary purpose of a one to one conversation is to build or deepen relationships.