Seeking God's Will Together
a congregational study on communal biblical discernment
“How does the faithful church discern the way of Jesus as we engage the culture in which we find ourselves?”
This six-unit study is designed to help congregations answer this question through the practice of communal biblical discernment. The units are rich and full so each unit can be adapted to be used in more than one session for groups that would like to take more time. The authors are Amanda Beachy, Shana Peachey Boshart, Nathan Ramer, Nicholas Detweiler Stoddard and Matt Troyer-Miller.
The study addresses why the church practices discernment, teaches specific practices of discernment, and gives congregations opportunities to practice what they have learned. After completing the study, congregations and our conference as a whole will be well-positioned to carry out faithful biblical discernment in ways that will foster unity even when members disagree.
Upon completing a test version of the study one participant said, “This process can help us study and discuss some of the more ‘hot-button’ issues that we intentionally avoid.”
Other participants said:
"There is a lot of very good information about discernment and how to work at it. Good opening and closing rituals, with readings, scripture, singing. There are good video presentations followed by an appropriate activity."
"This study is both a scholarly and practical presentation of sound Anabaptist biblical interpretation principles directed to the lay person who truly desires to participate in biblical discernment."
"It can't help but be a time of bonding for the congregation."
"If the church is an important part of your life, you will want to invest your time participating in this congregational study."
Key resources related to the study
These are the books we drew from the most as we wrote this study. We recommend that you have these books available for the facilitator and other interested people. They would be great additions to your church library.
Discerning God’s Will Together by Ervin Stutzman
Units 2 & 3
Biblical Interpretation in the Anabaptist Tradition by Stuart Murray
“Biblical Interpretation In the Life of the Church”
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective
The Art of Teaching the Bible by Christine Eaton Blair
Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach
Table group issues and topics from 2013
Cool Tools for Hot Topics: Group Tools to Facilitate Meetings When Things Are Hot by Ron Kraybill and Evelyn Wright
Unit 6 Participant Program for you to customize
Related resources that we recommend
Desiring God's Will by David Benner
Recommended for individuals to read before, during or after the study.
Pursuing God's Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton
Recommended for pastors and leadership groups before or after the study.
Download the study in PDF
Order the study in printed form
Watch the teaching videos
The first five sessions include a teaching video.