A colleague of mine, John Ackerman, helps individuals and churches learn prayerful discernment for change. He has taught me that it is possible to be led in our actions by the Holy Spirit. He calls this process Stop, Look and Listen and he draws from the wisdom of Jesuit spirituality, Alcoholics Anonymous and the bible, among other sources. Listening to God involves the discipline of being quiet, letting go, and letting God move in.
John also teaches that groups can do this kind of discernment together, and he consults with churches who wish to try a more Spirit-led discernment process.
Here is a link to his website which explains Theory U, the idea that power comes from surrendering our control and giving things over to God. Check it out! He also has a Facebook page and he has published books with the Alban Institute.
John taught me that it is not impossible to discern direction from God. Of course, we are always groping in the dark, but God truly wants to guide us. If your church is serious about doing more than just brainstorming and group decision making, you may want to check out John Ackerman’s books on spiritual discernment for groups. Thanks for your wisdom, John!