The Discipline of Guidance

“All of creation watches expectantly for the springing up of a disciplined, freely gathered, martyr people who know in this life the life and power of the kingdom of God. It has happened before. It can happen again.”

With those words, Richard Foster opens up the penultimate chapter of Celebration of Discipline. I have to say that I was simultaneously encouraged and discouraged while reading this brief selection.

I was encouraged to see that corporate guidance is a necessary trait. Foster pulls in so many examples (especially from Acts) for our need to seek God’s guidance as a body. He shares several examples of people throughout history who have sought corporate guidance. He shares of churches that had phenomenal experiences when seeking guidance corporately. Foster also points out that there are some pretty solid requirements for someone to inhabit the role of spiritual director. He points out the potential dangers to be careful of when serving in that role. But he points out that this is a very good thing, and we Western Christians need to do this more frequently.

This is where I find myself discouraged. How many churches in our Western Christianity are willing to do this? Gathering as a body to seek God’s will? We have a hard enough time getting people to show up for an hour-long service once a week. There are always individuals who constantly undermine the God-granted authority of those who are called into leadership roles. How realistically can we hope for churches across America to begin practicing the discipline of guidance? How realistically can I expect my church to do this?

Though discouraged, I have hope. I trust that God will work as He needs to. I see pockets of individuals who are willing to practice this discipline together. And they are what we can build upon…