Sunday, April 06, 2008

Discerning God or taking a SWOT


I was listening to my favourite podcast from pray-as-you-go and the anecdote of Gamaliel's warning in Acts 5 was the topic. In essence he said beware when something new turns up - be careful if its origins are of human decent or of God's. You could land up fighting against God. So often we are faced with a crossroad in the life of the Church. We sit with many an opinion, many a path to follow and we have to discern the way to go. Now, I wonder how often we consider it in these terms or whether we get the sheet of paper out and start weighing up the pro's and con's and if it has more con's we discard it. Our SWOT analysis charts may be helpful, but it could be important to do the exercise "Is it of God? or Is this of human will? " as our first endeavour. Just a thought for an early Sunday morning. (Not preaching this morning, will be at it tonight. Must go and do a trial service for a probationer in Woodlands.)

7 comments:

Zololkis said...

SECURITY CENTER: See Please Here

David Barbour said...

I have no idea who you are Mr zololkis and I don't wish to go to any Security Center???? "Take a SWOT"

Jenny Hillebrand said...

I think the hard part is knowing God's will! And we hope that using human things like swot analyses will help us discern his will. (Maybe almost like casting a modern day lot). How would you take a congregation through discerning God's will?

David Barbour said...

The SWOT analysis is a useful tool among many, but what I think I am getting at is that we cannot continue as if we are a corporate business doing its annual planning session. We have far more to guide and lead our direction. Before any planning session I try and get our leaders to go through some spiritual retreat to feel and appreciate the basic flow of the Christ's life and teaching so that when we make decisions we are not making them in stark contrast to the WILL of God in flesh. I know we can all interpret things through our different lenses but we ought do our best to flood ourselves with the source of scripture to guide our paradigm of thinking ... and on...

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Yes, thank you. Doing a retreat or somehow really focusing on God before doing business sounds like a good thing. I guess what we do so often is limit our time so that we only do 'business'. I will try to remember this!

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

Difficult stuff Dave: I have had moments when a congregation wants to do something that I do not believe is right. For example: Last year a Circuit QM passed a resolution against the inclusion of gay people into our church. The ministers of this circuit were the only people who voted against the resolution. So who was right? The mood of the meeting? The beliefs of their pastors? I suspect that we all struggled to hear God in this!
Pete

David Barbour said...

I think we all have different constructs of the Christ figure in our minds. The scriptural interpretation is moulded around this whether we like it or not. The path of Christ's Way is difficult to discern especially with different hermeneutical traditions. I suppose the only way is still to 'hope and pray?' God bless.