Discernment

By Blair Pogue
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul, MN has been re-envisioning the role of the vestry over the last five years: inviting vestry members to understand their role as that of a spiritual discernment team.
By Janie Kirt Morris
Getting the right people on board is critical. Janie Kirt shows us the successful system she developed for “Build a Healthy Vestry." Available in Spanish.
By Dorothy Gibson with assistance from Barbara Larson
Given all that energy and the challenges of the time we live in, it feels like a good time to expand the opportunities for lay leadership beyond the church walls.
By Jane Patterson and John Lewis
How can you tell when a ministry is no longer viable?
By Todd Ousley
“Shattering the Status Quo” by Todd Ousley challenges congregational leaders to break out of familiar patterns by entering into an exodus experience as a way to open themselves to get ‘Egypt’ out of their systems.
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Twenty-five years ago, two churches – one Episcopal, the other Lutheran – came together united by a common mission. Mary Frances Schjonberg shares their story.
By John McClung and Mary McClung
How does true spiritual discernment work with nuts-and-bolts issues like vision statements and parish budgets?
By Perry Fuller
The process of making such decisions have enormous capacity to bring together or tear apart vestries.
By Lindsay Hardin Freeman
In preparing this issue, we put out a nationwide call to those working with youth: clergy, youth ministers, vestry members, etc.
By Jane Patterson and John Lewis
It is early evening, and traffic is heavy in the city as people head home for dinner and a night’s rest.
By Brian N. Prior
When asked, “When did you know you were called to ordained ministry?” I always begin with the story of Mrs. White.
By Will Thompson
Nuts and bolts issues are more effectively and efficiently addressed when vestries focus first on key questions having to do with discernment and key values.
By John de Beer
How do you understand your purpose as a vestry member? How do you know what God wants of you during your term on the vestry – or in the rest of your life?
By Bob Leopold crowd sourced with members of Southside
Out is where mission happens at Southside Abbey. Bob Leopold introduces us to a community church committed to lifting up hope where that hope has been obscured.
By Liz Bartenstein with assistance from Melanie Mullen and Brian Levey
Believing that their role as faith leaders includes encouraging incarnational experiences of faith that connects one’s active civic life to their experience of worship, members of St. Paul’s in Richmond, Virginia asked themse…
By Jennifer LeBlanc
Does your church conduct a Spiritual Gifts Assessment for its parishioners? Jennifer LeBlanc shares the experience of her church’s spiritual gifts assessment in Spiritual Gifts.
By Bruce A. Freeman
In Discernment in the Vestry Process, Bruce A. Freeman draws from personal experience to emphasize the importance of a careful, spiritual discernment process by and for congregational leaders to ensure the work of the church …
By Nathan E. Kirkpatrick
A vestry retreat, if planned thoughtfully, can be a time of fruitful work, relationship building and most importantly, honest conversations about the life and health of a church. In The Vestry Goes On Retreat, Nathan E. Kirkp…
By Kelsey Schuster, Susan Daughtry and Karen Olson
Kelsey Schuster, Susan Daughtry and Karen Olson bring us news about the ECMN School for Formation, which is transforming small church communities.
By Miguel Escobar
Miguel Escobar shares a tool that helps vestries and other leadership groups think through the strengths and weaknesses of an idea as a team.