Discerning Together

Dr. G. Wade Rowatt

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We at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky seek and attend to ways Christian individuals and communities can open ourselves to the working of God. We believe that God forms us daily as we share basic practices of our faith. Below you will find a brief note in a series of reflections intended to convey our sense of these practices and their meaning for our Christian formation.

As a community of learners we vow to “discern together” as we gather to worship, study, learn, understand, serve and express our faith.

Discerning is a pastoral practice that is communal and personal. We discern together the revelation and movement of God in Scripture, tradition and our current context. As we share our perceptions, research and knowledge, we uncover and imagine together the larger truths about God, creation, community and hopefully self.

Discerning together enlivens the past as it defines the future. As we remember keeping alive the truth of our common heritage, we detect together new visions of truth. This process of continuous discernment seeks to apprehend the Spirit at work in the world. It becomes transformational when we live out our discoveries.

Discerning unites diverse dimensions of our community and our self. We discern together the expressions of our gifts and those of others in relation to God: Creator, Christ, and Spirit. We voice the theological, ethical, justice and ministry issues in communities and in our selves. We uplift ministry opportunities with persons and groups of people as we discern the forces of injustice. Hope guides our responses as effective witness to our faith.

Discerning together guides our pastoral formation. We discern together themes of our faith traditions, major life events and primary assumptions that shape our pastoral call and identity. We journey together in search of our higher selves that choose to walk in light, not darkness and choose not to withdraw, but to engage our call.

Discerning together constructs our pastoral capabilities. As we trust exchanging discernible strengths and weaknesses, we deepen and expand our pastoral wisdom, relationships and skills. Such discerning fosters accountability, efficiency and growth.

Discerning together cultivates pastoral reflection. As we own our successes and failures in ministry, we establish ongoing collegial conversations, we formulate new goals and we strive for sensible estimations of our pastoral performance. Pastoral reflection leads us to new places of pastoral imagination.