Recent political events in the USA indicate that ordinary people are
weary of traditional politics and ways of doing business in the halls of
power. A similar mood is present in churches around the world. Ordinary
church members are tired of the fighting and politicking that seem to
privilege the same people all the time. They want a new way of making
decisions in their churches and in their representative meetings. This
book shows them how such a hope can be realized.
Robert’s Rules of Order, or the traditional parliamentary style of decision-making used in many churches, can work for simple decisions that are aggregated and passed by consent. For complex and divisive issues, churches need a decision process that does not result in a combative, winner-take-all approach to church life. A healthy church also tries to involve commitment from a wide range of stakeholders rather than privilege a few well-informed and capable speakers. A vital and healthy congregation yearns for a more collaborative, respectful, encouraging, engaging, and empowering process.
This book on discernment in the church provides a step-by-step guide on how to create a new way of working together. Drawing on tried and tested processes, it advocates for a consensus building approach and showing people how it can work in their setting (local church or judicatory meetings). Readers will learn how to design a consensus building business process for their church meeting while still respecting the denominational and legal requirements under which they must operate.
This book is for leaders, members of church boards and committees, and church members who know that there is something wrong with the present system but don’t know what to do about it. This guidebook is hopeful, inspiring, and practical.
—David Graves, Bishop of the Alabama–West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
“The Church Guide for Making Decisions Together offers the tools needed for congregations to explore a new and life-giving way of making decisions—a way that values and gives voice to all participants and leads to increased faithfulness.
—Cynthia D. Weems, South East District Superintendent of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
“The Church Guide for Making Decisions Together embodies the belief that not only do church communities need to arrive at right decisions but the processes by which the decisions are made need to be fruitful for the community itself. Creative, careful reflection and a commitment to Christian communities are apparent on every page of this book.”
—Elizabeth Delaney, Sister of the Good Samaritan, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia
“Corkin and Wallace offer us a kinder, gentler, more faith-grounded way of making decisions and building consensus in our faith communities. Recapturing the essential wisdom that ‘form follows function,’ they remind us that decision-making in the church is an act of faith rather than mere administration. Practical tools and exercises make this an incredibly resource.”
—Dan R. Dick, Assistant to the Bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
“We are often mired in decision-making processes that limit our thinking and dreaming—processes that emphasize making legislative decisions over community discernment. Corkin and Wallace offer a better way, inviting us to ‘be caught up into the saving purposes of God for all creation.’ Their book is intellectually sharp, eminently practical, insightful in its understanding of Christian faith, and quite simply, a joy to read.”
—David Alan Bard, Bishop of the Michigan Area of The United Methodist Church