Summer is drawing to a close, and it seems to me that the end of the year is moving towards us at a very rapid clip. The MSA team has begun a series of discernment sessions to try and shape at least some of what we focus on over the next couple of years. As we have gotten back into this process which we began using about 18 months ago I realize how much I have missed them over the summer.
This is a group discernment process developed and used by Quakers for running not just church but also business meetings. It works from the premise that God speaks to and through everyone and provides an environment in which we can listen to the ways in which God is speaking to us and discern our direction together.
We live in a world with much uncertainty, one in which we all feel buffeted by change beyond our control. Often we wonder where and whether God is really in the midst of what is happening. I find that using this process really helps us to discern where God is and how God wants to lead us. So many of our strategic planning and futuring techniques stem from our belief t – spoken or unspoken – that the future will be more of the present only bigger, better and more prosperous. The last year has dispelled that illusion but many of us still want to go back to the old ways of doing things.
I mentioned in the recent MSA yearly report that using this process has stimulated our creativity. It makes life a little messier than a well ordered strategic planning approach but is exciting to watch God take control and shape what we do. It is also exciting to see each person involved in this process grow and blossom as they are given the opportunity to voice their opinions and their sense of God’s leading. None of us really know what the future will hold but I am more convinced than ever that this is the type of process that provides the flexibility we need to lead us into our rapidly changing future while maintaining a sense of the fact that God is indeed still in control.
You can read more about the process we initiated last year at these posts
I had just finished the draft for this article when I came across this post
The Problem with Non that seemed so appropriate in relation to what I had just written that I thought I would add it as a reference for reflection. I think that part of the reason non profits find change difficult is that they develop structures and ways of thinking that build rigidity and inflexibility and really do not allow for change at any level. What do you think?