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Abstract

Congregations find themselves living in transformative times, but transformation is often an act of subtraction, which means congregations find themselves living in anxious times as well. Within this context, it is tempting for congregations to base decisions on either financial constraint or political expediency. However, such superficial discernment is incapable of guiding congregations wishing to respond to God’s activity in the world. This author argues that Ignatius of Loyola provides congregations with an alternative.

To accomplish this, the author walks the reader through the basic principles of Ignatian spirituality and discernment, making suggestions for how these can impact congregational decision-making along the way. It concludes by showing how The Deliberation exhibits a two-sided Ignatian framework that congregations can use to settle their decision-making in prayer, worship, and personal reflection while also committing themselves to logically and objectively working toward a sense of consensus. The author advocates that such a framework is practical, Spirit-led, action-oriented, and learnable, allowing congregations to anchor their choices in the movement of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing invitation of God.

Author Bio

Benjamin Gensic is the minister for the First Christian Church in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He and his wife, Kalyn, have four children: Shepherd, Lydia, Violet, and Finn. Benjamin graduated from Rochester College with a Bachelor of Religious Education in Biblical Studies, from Abilene Christian University with a Master of Divinity, and from Lipscomb University with a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Theology and Spiritual Formation. His primary areas of interest are missional theology, emergence Christianity, Ignatian spirituality, and chocolate.