Team Coordinator:

The Rev. Jeff Japinga
ep@ptcaweb.org

Discernment Team

This Team will partner with moderators and sessions to lead and support congregations in processes of spiritual discernment toward the future, especially in times of unique ministry challenges or when the existence or trajectory of the congregation is in question.  Team members will have passion for and training in helping others listen to the Holy Spirit and the imagination to envision possible next steps.

 

The team will match guides to work together with a congregation. The guides work primarily with the session and the pastor and must be invited by the session with the concurrence of the pastor (if there is one) before the relationship can begin. Guides are members of the Congregational Discernment Team or are designated by the team. Guides may make recommendations to the CDT, who will report official actions to the Commission on Ministry (COM). This team will intentionally work with the Pastor Positions Team (PPT) at their request. 

 

General Tasks: 

  1. Offer prayer & worship that helps release tension and focus the conversation. 

  2. Create a space for story-telling. 

  3. Celebrate past and current strengths.

  4. Acknowledge worries, weaknesses.

  5. Ask good questions that will guide the session in discernment: a. What are the essentials? What are you willing to give up? b. What would a successful outcome would look like? Define success? 

  6. Be careful listeners, reflecting what you hear. (“What I’m hearing is…”) 

  7. Help the congregation imagine and consider possibilities for their future that appropriately reflects their size and financial capability. (“What can we do with what we have?”) 

  8. Connect the pastor & session with presbytery (or other) resources. 

  9. Assist the congregation in identifying their next steps.

  10. Consider whether additional support (consultant, mediation, etc.) is needed.