Discernment and Decision-Making

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NRSV)

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Paul’s 12th Chapter of the Book of Romans is one of the most beautiful passages of scripture describing the Christian Church. The church, according to Paul, will experience renewal through thinking new thoughts that may be countercultural and even counterintuitive. The context of Rome at the time Paul wrote these words was a context of rapid change and evolving culture. Not only was the community changing, but the church was changing, too. Uncertainty was at an all-time high.

The context of Rome is not too unlike our own. The church of today faces some of the most daunting challenges the church has ever faced. Amidst the uncertainty of our age, we seek to influence a culture that places minimal value on religious authority. Our culture seems to rely more on a self-authored worldview than one grounded in any institutional authority. The church must take these challenges seriously and reach out to the world with a word of both grace and conviction. In other words, our decisions must be rooted deeply in our discernment of God’s “good and acceptable and perfect” will.

To help us discern God’s will, we are seeking your input once more for assessing Canterbury’s current reality. We have heard from approximately 400 people in a previous survey, but we need to hear from all of you. Even if you participated in the last survey, when you receive an email on Sunday, April 30th, with a link to the new survey (or if you receive a hard copy of the survey in your mail), please take the time to complete this survey. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, and your responses will be the final piece in the puzzle of where we stand as a congregation.

You may also be interested to know that we have already surveyed some of our new members (who should complete this survey as well!) and some members who have left our congregation to get the clearest picture possible of what both draws people to us or leads them away. Also, our research firm will survey non-members in our community to get an idea of what people in our community are looking for in a church, how they perceive Canterbury, and ways that we might more positively engage those in our community who do not attend church.

By taking the survey before May 12th when it closes online, you will help us discern the best possible way for us to build on our strengths and seize the opportunities for improvement. Thanks in advance for your willingness to help in this way.

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Rev. Dale Cohen
Senior Pastor of Canterbury United Methodist Church

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