May 4, 2012

Wanna Grow! Help People Discern

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Chris Yaw’s passion is healthy churches. His ChurchNext ministry puts the spotlight on a diversity of ministries that are flourishing. He records and shares interviews with faith leaders so others can learn from their experiences. Click on the Interview link below to watch the video or download a podcast.

What are we called to do?

It’s a pervasive question that author, blogger, counselor, and pastor of Calvin Presbyterian in Pennsylvania, Graham Standish just keeps asking. He credits an emphasis on discernment, in various levels, with the substantial growth his congregation has seen.

In this interview Graham tells us how he created a culture of discernment at his church, and how it has led to health and growth. You’ll want to listen to this one more than once. 

No time to watch? Here's a synopis of the conversation:

Calvin Presbyterian has grown from around 200 members to 500 in the dozen or so years Graham Standish has been serving. Continually asking the questions like, ‘Is this our calling?’ and ‘Is this what God wants us to do?’ is one reason things stay fresh there. Here are my notes from the interview:
  • Be Permission Giving Graham says a default setting of, ‘yes, let me help you,’ is what today’s church leaders need to adopt. He says our job is equipping and inspiring, so how can we bless the ideas God is raising up in our congregations?
  • Help People Ask Discerning Questions By assisting people in the great questions of purpose: why are we here? and what are we supposed to be doing?, Graham says gifts make themselves known organically and make it easier to plug people in.
  • Preacher From the Pews Graham identified 6 people who, during Lent, delivered the sermon. At first they said no, but later agreed, and through the exercise learned much about their own journeys and how to relate their lives to God. Would this work in your congregation?

About Graham Standish Graham has been pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania since January of 1996, which has more than doubled in size, and garnered national attention in several studies, including one by Diana Butler-Bass, who included Calvin Church in her groundbreaking book, Christianity for the Rest of Us

Books Graham Recommends