Tag Archives: discernment

Book | The Ministry of the Missional Church by Craig Van Gelder

Van Gelder, Craig. The Ministry of the Missional Church: A Community Led by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007.


read about Craig Van Gelder in this post.

The Ministry of the Missional ChurchMy Thoughts

This book covers the bulk of the material we discussed in the class that Van Gelder taught called The Hermeneutics of Leading in Mission. Our conversations centered around Van Gelder’s model of Spirit-Led decision making in the last half of the book. Our final project for that class required each of us to write our own theological theory of strategic action. You can see mine here. Ministry was a sort of sequel to Van Gelder’s first book The Essence of the Church. In Ministry of the Missional Church he emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Spirit in gathering, shaping, and sending the church to participate in God’s mission to bring God’s redemptive reign to the world. read more

The Cycle of the Missional Church


The first three parts of this cycle–The Church is, the Church does what it is, and the Church organizes what it does–comes from The Essence of the Church by one of my mentors, Craig Van Gelder. This image flashed into my head today as I was thinking about the Deep in the Burbs Research team and the decisions we need to make over the next two weeks. I was also thinking about the Holy Conversations happening in my own congregation (over the decision to perform same-sex marriages, or not). read more

Article | Fruit of the Spirit by Gary Simpson

In this short essay–Fruit of the Spirit by Gary Simpson–Simpson1 claims that there is only one fruit of the Spirit. That is love. Love is like a stem cell and takes on whatever form the recipient needs in the moment. This is the communal discernment that the Spirit empowers.

I found this image at https://gs4nj.org/fruit-of-the-spirit-love/
I found this image at https://gs4nj.org/fruit-of-the-spirit-love/
  1. Green, Joel B. Lapsley Jacqueline E. Miles Rebekah Verhey Allen. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011. []

Experiencing the Disruptive Nature of the Spirit

Part of my research focuses on exploring the sense-making process of walking with the Spirit in community (specifically, how this works in the suburbs). Let me walk through the events and conversations of the last week in an effort to make some provisional sense from it for my own life, for my research, and for the life of the community of which I am a part.

Two Sundays ago I preached on the Third Way of Love. The path between a rock and a hard place, I proposed, is the path of Christ’s love. It is the kind of love that died on the cross to open up a third way between the two extremes. I used our church’s Holy Conversations as an example of being caught between a rock and a hard place. The Holy Conversations is a nine-month discernment process in which our Vision Board is deciding whether or not we will perform same-sex marriages in our church. read more