This simple five stage process can be used on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or an evening. It is a way of bringing together the reflections of individuals and considering or discerning them in community.
Set this up by asking people to journal their hopes. vision, dreams for the church or several weeks. These may be collected on a vision wall in the church. Ask people to prepare their hearts for this time together.
Allow about an hour and a half or 2 hours.
Worship and Prayer
Quiet worship to orient people and focus the session, opening people to God.
Introduction to purpose and process
Explanation of the purpose of the meeting, the key issues on the agenda (Like vision, or a key decision) and the process of listening to God and each other.
1. Personal Reflection
Individuals to sit quietly and journal before God on the future direction of this church / organisation. Write on a blank piece of paper.
2. Small Group Sharing and Discerning
Gathering in groups of 4 (no more), listen to each other and collect your reflections and ideas. Prepare a number of key things to share with the whole congregation / group.
3. Plenary Session
Open sharing; 1st from each small group; then for specific sharing from people who believe they have something to share with the whole. Encourage people to take notes on what they sense are significant contributions.
4. Small Group Reflection and Discussion
Back in same small groups, process and reflect on what was shared with the whole group – is there a direction emerging or some key issues coming out.
5. Personal Reflection
Individuals have the opportunity to put down on paper their final reflections, concerns, ‘sense of where God is leading’ after listening to the whole congregation / group, discussing with their small group and reflecting on the changes that have occurred for them.
Offering the Reflections – Prayer
Each person brings their own written reflections and places them on the Lord’s Table / space at the front.
Following the meeting the church vision group or consultancy team gather the written reflections and write a summary report on the key themes which emerged.