Holy Conversations

A Strategic Discernment Process

Purpose: To answer the question, “What is the difference God is calling us to make in the coming season of the church’s life?” and a plan for how to get there.  

How do we know it’s time for our church to do this?

  • There is a clear recognition the congregation’s ministry lacks focus.
  • It has become hard to name the difference the congregation is making.
  • A building project is envisioned and the leaders realize they must answer the question, “Why are we building this?’
  • The goals from a previous long range plan were either accomplished or abandoned.

What questions does the process seek to answer?

  • What is the true capacity of our congregation to make a difference?
  • How do we define our mission field?
  • What is the intersection between the congregation’s capacity to make a difference and the mission field’s most urgent need?
  • What are the obstacles to focusing our ministry?

What happens in the process?

  • For six months, a team of 7-9 (including the pastor) are set apart to ask the guiding questions (above). 
  • The team reports the substance of their conversations to the congregation after each session together.
  • A smaller group is then set aside to name the calling which the team experienced.
  • This smaller group writes specific recommendations about how to be faithful to the calling (this lasts 3 months).
  • The recommendations are then implemented by the church’s leadership group.

Who should be on the team?

  • People who aren’t scared of big ideas, are open-minded and spiritually mature.
  • People who are able to tell people what they’re doing and aren’t afraid of risks.
  • People who can be playful, imaginative, and who have the trust of the congregation.
  • At least one liaison to the leadership group and 2-3 people who have joined the church recently and bring fresh eyes.      

What does it cost?


Who do we call if we’re interested?

  • John Thornburg (214) 802-0788
  • Carol Montgomery (214) 535-8227  

For a fuller description of the process, go to Holy Conversations Process.