Challenging Conversations: Next Steps Discernment helps you and your church hold grace and truth as you discern and decide what’s next.Made up of spiritual disciplines, listening circles and a decision-making pathway, Next Steps will help you and your church clarify core issues, generate trust, and honor God, regardless of what final decision is adopted.
In June 2022, the synod of the Christian Reformed Church made a series of consequential decisions about the denomination’s teaching (and the confessional status of the church’s teaching) on human sexuality and same-sex marriage. In this season after synod’s decisions, many church members and officebearers are wondering how those decisions will impact them and their congregations. They are wondering whether their relationship with the denomination is strengthened, weakened or complicated in some significant way by Synod’s decisions. They’re wondering what the next faithful step will be for themselves and their churches.
But for many, even talking about these issues seems fraught with risks. Will this divide our church? What impact will this have on our mission, our discipleship and our pastoral care? How do we live into this teaching in faithful ways? Is it safe to even say what I believe or ask what I’m uncertain about?
With so much at risk, it seems easier just to stay quiet and pretend that everyone agrees rather than risk an open disagreement.
A Path Forward?
At Pastor Church Resources (PCR), we have spent the last forty years inviting Christian Reformed congregations to embrace challenging conversations and lean into spiritual discernment rather than avoid them and hope their questions just disappear or resolve on their own. We believe that deep discernment and wrestling among Christians, while sometimes scary, can become an opportunity to deepen our faith and strengthen our churches. That’s because, at its best, this work requires us to rely more deeply on the Spirit to help us love our neighbors, to bear with one another, and to trust the promise that in Christ, all things hold together. In fact, deep discernment, when attempted in Christ’s name and for his glory, can be one of the most effective means by which God demonstrates his power and sanctifies his people.
It’s just that sometimes we need a little help to get started.
That’s why PCR has rebuilt and expanded their Challenging Conversations Toolkit into an adaptable discernment resource for churches and their members wrestling with their next steps.