Developing Practices of Communal Discernment

by Aileen Van Ginkel

To follow up with last week’s article on discerning God at work in our neighbourhoods, we offer this article from Aileen Van Ginkel on corporate discernment. Aileen is the vice president of Ministry Services with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and she holds a doctoral degree from 

Tyndale Seminary in the area of discernment. She has begun to teach and write on this issue and offers us these thoughts as a way to help us within the NAB to partner with what God is doing in our neighbourhoods. She is on the Forge Canada National Team and lives near Toronto.

An inclusive approach to discernment and decision-making rests ultimately on our understanding that Christ stands at the middle of our community; it is in and through Christ that we relate with one another. This understanding leads in turn to an insistence that we offer ourselves to be led in our decision-making by Christ, who is the Word incarnate, through Scripture – the means by which Christ’s incarnational presence among us is revealed to us.

Decision-making practices that are interwoven with prayer, inclusive in terms of participation and oriented to the incarnational presence of Jesus-with-us can be seen as important elements in a missional community. They contribute to a well-rounded life of discipleship – both individually and communally – that starts with the acknowledgment that we are called into God’s mission of reconciliation and that, if we want to participate in that mission, we need to be in a loving and listening relationship with God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Although we might wish we had them at times, God does not provide us with roadmaps that lay out for us the details of God’s will for us far in advance. Instead, Jesus leads us into a relationship with the Father that is characterized by listening for God’s words step by step – much as Isaiah prophesied:

Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
(Isaiah 30:21 NLT)

Read the entire article by clicking below. 

Read More from Aileen

Missionary of the Week

Walter and Florence Grob, NAB Missionary in Cameroon. Walter handles the missionary finances for the Cameroon Baptist Convention and serves as a resource person for the head of the Finance and Development Department. Because of security concerns, Walter’s travel off the Cameroon Baptist Convention compound in Bamenda is limited, but he continues to make the most of the situation. Pray for the efforts of Walter’s wife, Florence, as she attempts to open a dental clinic in Douala due to the depressed economy in Bamenda. Continue to pray God would bring about His reconciliation to the political impasse and instability in Cameroon. To find out more about Walter and his ministry in Cameroon, visit

Missionary / Church Planter of the Week