Introduction: The Heart of Spiritual Leadership
Part One: Becoming a Community for Discernment
1. Learning to See
2. Beginning with Spiritual Transformation
3. Leaders Who Are Discerning
4. Community at the Leadership Level
5. Values that Undergird Community
6. Practices for Opening to God Together
7. Practices for Listening to Each Other
8. A Covenant That Protects Community
Part Two: Practicing Discernment Together
9. Get Ready: Preparing for the Discernment Process
10. Get Set: From Decision Making to Discernment
11. Go! Discerning and Doing God?s Will Together
12. But Does It Work?
Appendix 1: Leader's Guide
Appendix 2: A Biblical Perspective on Spiritual Transformation
Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founding president of the Transforming Center, a spiritual formation ministry to pastors and Christian leaders. A trained spiritual director (Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation), teacher and retreat leader, she has served on the pastoral staff of several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church. A sought-after teacher, preacher and consultant to leadership teams, she is currently adjunct professor of spiritual transformation at Northern Seminary. Educated at Wheaton College, Northern Seminary and Loyola University Chicago Institute for Pastoral Studies, Ruth is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life, including Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Sacred Rhythms, Longing for More and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership (all InterVarsity Press), An Ordinary Day with Jesus: Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life (coauthor, Willow Creek Resources), and an online resource titled eReflections, spiritual guidance via email. She also contributes regularly to Conversations: A Forum for Authentic Transformation.
"Ruth Haley Barton knows only too well that discerning God's will
requires a personal commitment to transformation as well as an
openness to engage in a group process. In Pursuing God's Will
Together, she shows us in a systematic way how it's done. Every
Christian leader will benefit from such a practical approach to
such an ancient practice."--Albert Haase, O.F.M., author of This
"Ruth Haley Barton has identified an important issue in spiritual leadership and in how we make decisions, revealing where our integrity as leaders lies. Do we really believe that God has something to say, by his Holy Spirit, in terms of what direction we take? Ruth does a great job of describing practices that can help teams become more adept at hearing God's voice in the practical areas of leading and serving."--Doug Nuenke, U.S. director, The Navigators
"I have been grateful for Ruth Haley Barton's wisdom in the past on spiritual disciplines so crucial for the soul of a leader. I am sure her latest work will be of great benefit to those who seek the grace of discernment in their work and ministries."--Gary Haugen, president and CEO, International Justice Mission
"It's impossible to overstate how needed, valuable, timely and timeless this book is. It is as wise as Methuselah and as practical as a slingshot. Ruth has rendered a massive service to church leaders everywhere, and to all the churches they lead. Herein lies the remedy for the sad but common malady we see today: otherwise godly men and women pursuing God's kingdom with worldly navigational equipment. I plan to buy a case of Pursuing God's Will Together upon its release and make it mandatory reading for all of our leaders. It can hardly come soon enough."--Mark Buchanan, pastor, New Life Community Baptist Church, author of Spiritual Rhythm and Your Church Is Too Safe
"Fabulous! I look forward to giving copies to our staff and elders. Ruth provides a practical, powerful road map so we can discern the most important question as a leadership team: What is God's will for us on a particular issue?"--Pete Scazzero, pastor of New Life Fellowship Church and author of The Emotionally Healthy Church
"In Pursuing God's Will Together [Ruth Haley Barton] weaves her own wisdom with others in bringing forth a beautiful tapestry of spirituality in community."--Chuck Olsen, founder, Worshipful-Work, and author of Transforming Church Boards
"Ruth Haley Barton is a gifted distiller of historic best practices for community discernment and direction. Exercising her counsel on the rare 'vow of stability' would by itself rescue multiple organizations from broken strategic trajectories. I highly recommend Pursuing God's Will Together for leaders, teams and organizations."--Dr. Bruce McNicol, president, Truefaced Inc.
"This book needs a warning label: 'Content may be disruptive to your understanding of Christian life, leadership and community.' Ruth Haley Barton has provided every Christian with an invaluable resource for discerning and fulfilling the purposes of God. In a world where Christians and Christian leadership and communities have largely succumbed to secular processes for decision making, Barton brings a clear, challenging and compelling call for a radical alternative. This book is not the product of a 'theorist, ' but the mature distillation of Barton's own journey into a life hid with Christ in God for the sake of others. This is a must-read for every Christian leader and leadership group, and a primer for every Christian."--M. Robert Mulholland Jr., professor emeritus, Asbury Theological Seminary, and author of Invitation to a Journey and The Deeper Journey
"Pursuing God's Will Together is a much-needed corrective to our headstrong individualism today. It drills down deep into rock-bed practicalities for any community seeking to discern the will of God together. I recommend it highly."--Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Sanctuary of the Soul
"While there has been a revival of interest in spiritual disciplines for some time, there is precious little available about how to practice them in community. More specifically, there is almost nothing about helping Christian leaders discern God's presence and activities together. That is, until now. With Pursuing God's Will Together, Ruth Haley Barton a recognized leader in spiritual formation fills this need admirably. This is an important, unique book that will be sure to transform Christian corporate leadership from a pure business model to a more spiritually integrated approach. I highly recommend it."--J. P. Moreland, professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and author of The God Question"
"I like this book. It is wise, thoughtful, gracious and a little bit disturbing Ruth will surely upset some of your preconceived notions. If you are like me, you believe in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but you want to be wise and not presumptuous about knowing God's will for your group. This book is a real gift to folks like us. It provides us with much more than simply a plan of action. You can use it yourself, but it will also be quite useful to you with your fellow decision makers, so that discerning God's will together becomes an experience in spiritual growth for the whole team."--John Yates, rector, The Falls Church"
"Pursuing God's Will Together is a powerfully convicting and timely book for those of us who are fully aware that we are incapable of effective leadership apart from God's wisdom and direction. How to discern God's purposes individually and as a dynamic team is the genius of this compellingly creative call to kingdom movement. Ruth Haley Barton presents us with a proven if at times painful practice that can ultimately take our finite efforts to where our infinite God wants them to go."--Harold B. Smith, president and CEO, Christianity Today International"