Discernment Survey Information

Over the past year, the Discernment Team at Asbury United Methodist Church has worked to provide information, resources, and opportunities for the congregation to learn about the issues surrounding human sexuality and our denomination, the United Methodist Church. It is now time for our congregation to participate in honest and prayerful discernment.  

A church-wide survey is now available.  This survey asks those at Asbury UMC about their understanding around human sexuality as it relates to the United Methodist Church, their personal beliefs, and their hopes for Asbury United Methodist Church moving forward. The survey is part of a prayerful congregational discernment process and it is a critical step in allowing the Discernment Team to determine and recommend the next right move for our church family.

If you have not done so already, you are encouraged to visit the following links to learn more about where we are as a church and denomination in regards to discernment and disaffiliation regarding human sexuality in the Church. 

Discernment Team Resources Page – includes timeline information, frequently asked questions, outside resources, and more.

Unpacking the UMC Today Podcast – Listen to Pastors Mike Holly and Robert Mercer answer some tough questions around current issues facing the United Methodist Church, why some churches are leaving the denomination, and what these challenges mean for Asbury.

Informational Video from Pastor Mike – Pastor Mike spends time discussing the discernment process, how we got to this place, and what we are doing as a church to listen to God as we move through this time together. This session was presented in the Sanctuary on November 16, 2022. 

North Alabama Conference ‘Discerning our Future’ – This resource from the North Alabama Conference provides frequently asked questions regarding the United Methodist Church, our local conference, and the Annual Conference’s Disaffiliation process. 

Check your email for a unique link to the survey.  If you would like to request a paper copy, they are available at the main office during the week or at the Discernment Survey Table outside of the Foust Family Life Center/Gym on Sunday mornings for any person that is unable or prefers not to complete the survey online. If there is another person in your household that did not receive a unique link to the survey, please contact discernment@asburybham.org so that we can update their email address in our system. We ask that you complete the survey by the end of February. 

Dr. Joe Paprocki, D.Min, reminds us that discernment is not an individual practice.

We must listen for God and talk to one another.

Discernment: Talk to someone you respect.

"God often speaks to us through the wisdom of others. Seek out the wisdom of at least one and perhaps several people who you feel have the gift of wisdom and ask for their advice."

Discernment - Find Some Solitude

“It's good to talk to other people when making important decisions, but at some point, it is crucial to make some time to be alone with your thoughts and with God. Invite God into your decision-making process.”

“Lay out all of the facts in front of yourself so that you can deal with the known before you delve into the unknown!”

Discernment: Tell God what it is that you desire and what you fear.

"Be honest and tell God what your deepest desires and fears are in this situation is. Before you can say the words, “thy will be done,” be sure you are truly in touch with your own will; otherwise it will come back to bite you anyway!”

Discernment: Let God speak to you.

"Most of us don't actually hear a voice when God speaks to us. However, pay attention closely to the ways that God is speaking to you. What kinds of thoughts, feelings (especially love, joy, and peace, or a lack thereof), and memories might God be stirring within you to help you make your decision? What Scripture story or saint's life comes to mind that might enlighten your decision? Find the passage or story and prayerfully read it.”

Discernment: Pray to do God's will.

“As difficult as it may be, pray the words, “thy will be done,” asking God to give you the strength you need to continue to discern his will and to follow it.”

Discernment: Wait

“If circumstances allow, wait before making your decision. Continue to pay attention to your feelings to see which direction you are being drawn to.”

Discernment: Prayerfully commit

“At some point, you need to act. Knowing that you have sought God's will, set forth to do the loving thing.”

Discernment: Check out the fruits.

"Discernment is ongoing. After you make a decision, prayerfully evaluate it. If the fruits (outcomes) of your decision—your words, actions, and behaviors—are good, then it is a good indication that the decision you made is good. If the fruits are “rotten,” then that is a good indication that you may need to alter your course. True discernment results in good fruit (even if it's something we wouldn't normally pick out for ourselves).”