Making Decisions

Making Decisions

Making decisions in life can be a challenge. The Christian community can be a source of helping you hear God's voice in your ordinary or difficult decisions. One spiritual discipline that helps with discernment is from the Quaker tradition. It's called a Clearness Committee.

The Quaker Clearness Committee is a small group that is called together to assist a person who is seeking the Holy Spirit's direction. In this process of discernment, the participants listen for God who is speaking through each person present. If the participants are hearing the Spirit's leadings, there is a common direction that is discerned. As the leadings begin to coalesce around a certain direction, participants can have more confidence that it is a direction that leads us deeper into God's will.

For centuries, the Quakers have practiced this method of discernment in community. Even those of us who aren’t Quakers can benefit from a Clearness Committee to help us come to one mind about a way forward. For a helpful overview of a Clearness Committee, read this article by Parker Palmer.

Follow these steps to set up a Clearness Committee of your own:

  • Enlist the help of someone to facilitate the group. This can be a spiritual director, or some other mature person of faith familiar with facilitating groups.
  • Invite four to six trusted and wise people in your life to be on the committee.
  • Set a date, allowing about three hours for the group process.
  • Write up a one-page description of the issue on which you want clearness. E-mail the information to the committee members a few days before the meeting.
  • Meet with the facilitator of the group prior to the meeting to agree on how you want the time to go.
  • Participate fully in this sacred time with those who will sit with you in silence, prayer, and inquiry.

Loving the Insights

"I lead a small group of about 12 women, and we were looking for a great Advent study. I had used While We Wait years ago and remembered how beautifully written it was.

I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.

Everyone is enjoying it so much and loving the insights that Mary Lou Redding offers for each character in her study. While We Wait has been a great study for us!"