One of the earliest keys to fruitful ministry is identifying and being affirmed in your passions, gifts, and direction in ministry. Soma’s Ministry Discernment Center Process comes alongside potential church pastors and/or church planters, their families, and sending church in order to help you find your best fit in leading, serving, and planting a church.
Our process considers the competencies often assessed in North American church planting organizations, combined with the prayerfulness and Spirit-led unity more often sought by global missions and disciple-making organizations. Through prayer and community, we join together in seeking God’s direction for each candidate. And through experiences, instruments, and conversations, a seasoned team of leaders serves you by observing and discussing time-tested characteristics and competencies of fruitful church leadership and/or church planting, in a three-step discernment process.
THE DISCERNMENT PROCESS
SOMA’S DISCERNMENT PROCESS involves the following three steps, which we pursue in addition to whatever preparation, training, and requirements a sending church, denomination, agency, or network separately requires of a candidate.
STEP 1: APPLICATION PROCESS
Before being invited into a Discernment Center Week, a candidate (and his spouse, if applicable) completes the following application elements*:
- Discernment Center Application including personal, theological, and ministry questions
- Personality and Behavioral Inventories
- Wife’s Application and Church Leader Endorsement(s)
At least one phone or video interview with Discernment Center Team member(s)
STEP 2: DISCERNMENT CENTER WEEK
(Only) after completing Step 1 and being invited, a candidate attends a Discernment Center Week. A candidate’s spouse is required to participate in the Discernment Center Week, and it is highly preferred that a representative of the candidate’s sending church participate as well.
STEP 3: DISCERNMENT REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
Following steps 1 and 2, our Discernment Center Team prepares a report for each candidate, based on the discussions, observations, prayer, inventories, and collective discernment in those first steps. The report includes the team’s conclusions and recommendations for the candidate and his family and sending agency to consider as they take next steps together.
WHAT DOES A DISCERNMENT CENTER LOOK FOR?
The primary thing our Discernment Center Process seeks is the voice of God. We strongly believe that there is no one specific personality or gift-set that makes a good pastor or church planter. Rather, through prayer, conversation, inventories, exercises, and activities, our team comes alongside candidates in trying to give them a clear picture of what their next ministry steps could look like.
To that end, among other things, our process discerns…
- Thriving spiritual, emotional, and family health
- Gospel centrality and communication
- Humility, teachability, and exemplary lifestyle
- Relational dynamics and self-awareness
- Disciple-making and missional capacity
- Proven competencies for fruitful ministry leadership
- Specific giftedness, experience, and team role
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE DISCERNMENT CENTER PROCESS?
You can expect a humble, prayerful team of fruitful ministry leaders to come alongside you and your sending church to prayerfully see what ministry God might have for you (Acts 13).
You can expect a familial process that involves discussions, observations, prayer, inventories, and collective discernment that help grow your self-awareness and ministry IQ.
You can expect to be affirmed in your giftings, stretched in your areas of need, and invited into scenarios that bring you closer to God, your spouse (if applicable), and your unique design.
You can expect the process to culminate in a summary of the team’s unified view of the candidate, as well as recommended next steps in ministry.