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The Wisdom of the Crowd

09/10/2022 - Paul Cameron

When this mudbrick building was built, everybody was involved—and neighbours too—all in the spirit of the Old Testament history book Ezra where God’s people—and some unexpected neighbours—rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem.

The future of the people of God is within the people of God because Holy Spirit is in the people of God; the future of Discovery is within the people of Discovery because Holy Spirit is in the people of Discovery.

The story God is writing in us and in our neighbourhood in these days is the legacy we’ll gift to the future.

To prayerfully discern the shape of this legacy is our task in the Legacy Project. To imagine and grasp the future, from time to time decisions of great weight and consequence must be named and engaged; resolving them will depend on our shared capacity to acknowledge (and even welcome) unravelling and struggle and to respond by seeking wisely and prayerfully discerned outcomes, together. And so we begin a next step in a community discernment and conversation journey.

Since the first decades of the Christian church, open conversation and prayerful discernment have been common practices (you can read of one in Acts 15). Echoing the apostles in Acts, as Elders we are committed to cultivating an environment where the missional imagination of God is unleashed; we are confident this happens best in prayerful and courageous conversation, which always includes talking AND listening. Beyond a ‘heroic leader’ telling us what to do, we believe in Christianity’s dangerous idea—mission and ministry and discerning the future in the hands of the people; in ‘the wisdom of the crowd’, of listening people into free speech, of conversations encircled with Spirit-infused prayer, which as Walter Wink says, “believes the future into being”.

For then we will be able to say together—“it seems good to Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28a)

A frame for this Legacy Project, and this time of conversation and discernment includes:

  • Spiritual formation (or discipleship) is a process of being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others (Robert Mulholland)
  • It will always be ‘community’ first and ‘church’ second
  • We will pray that we would be indifferent to everything but the will of God; indifferent to matters of ego, prestige, organizational politics, personal advantage, personal comfort or favour, or even our own pet projects (or people). This is a choice to surrender fully, to God. (Ruth Haley Barton, adapted)
  • Maintaining a high trust atmosphere of robust yet humble/respectful dialogue where a variety of thought is sought (and celebrated) and where no idea or dream is too crazy to put out there.

It’s all in; it’s the Spirit-led wisdom of the crowd…