BUILDING A FAITH UNDERSTANDING
At this meeting, explain that the purpose is to build a faith understanding for the importance of working for the unity of the Body of Christ. It is in this context that the church seeks to be faithful as we discuss the issues that cause tension in church and society.
Provide time for people to suggest passages that they have thought of and hear the reports on the specific passages that you have previously provided. Discuss the implications for their spiritual leadership.
FROM A FAITH PERSPECTIVE
With that as background, invite your leaders to respond to the following:
- Have them name some of the issues in church and society that strain against church unity. At this point, ask that they just identify (not discuss) the topics and pressures that exist in both the church and the world.
- Looking at the list, try to reach a consensus on the top seven issues in churches.
- Then from that list, identify which are the top three that exist to some extent in your church.
- What are the factors that have made the other four of less importance and are there any lessons to be learned from that.
- Next take one of the three for your church.
- Ask them to place themselves on a continuum from 1 being very liberal and 10 being very conservative on that issue.
- Instead of asking them to share why they placed themselves where they did, ask them to share one statement about what they need to listen to from people who see the issue from a different perspective.
- When they have all spoken, have them discuss what the experience suggest about how they view conflict over that issue in the church.
You may want to repeat this experience using the other two issues that they have identified, focusing on one issue at a time.
SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN THE CHURCH
What you have done in the work with the leadership is to build a foundation for joining together as a team in addressing the issue of the unity of the Body of Christ as it is expressed in your particular congregation. The next step is to engage the members of your congregation in exploring the witness of your church in the larger community.
Next blog: A game to engage your congregation and let them be the judge.