There is only one question that the church will engage with in this stage.
In what ways is God calling us to grow and change?
This question requires the church to discover the areas of its common life in which God is asking them to work and develop. Like other parts of MAP for Derby Diocese, this is not a question that can be answered quickly and simply. The process for doing so will vary with each church. However, the discernment will need to include:
It would be easy to listen to the strong voices in the church, or to simply come up with a strategy in a leadership meeting that reflects the views of that leadership. However, since the church are seeking God’s way forward, prayer is central. The church may seek God’s wisdom in different and creative ways that can engage people from right across its communities and groups.
The church will have gained a great deal of information from the previous stage about its history, its current place with God and about the views of those outside the church. There will need to be a great deal of reflection, considering carefully all that has been learned, without ignoring things that are difficult to hear.
Listening to one another in the church is vital if there is to be accountability and opportunity to hear God in a range of voices.
There is always a temptation to try and do everything. There will inevitably be many good ways in which the church can continue to respond to God’s call. The importance lies in discerning:
Of the many good things that God may be calling us to now, which are the few God things that He is calling us to now?
A good indication that the church has addressed this question is that the church are clear about one or two areas in which God is asking them to grow and develop in the next season, and about which aspects of these areas are the key ones. These are likely to be selected from the agreed characteristics of God’s Church that form one of the core elements of the MAP process.