Listening to God: Spiritual Formation in Congregations

by John Ackerman. Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

Premised on the idea that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God, 'Listening to God' asserts that churches need to discern God’s call to them by listening to God more and relying less on “expert” opinion. Combining his many years of parish experience with contemporary spiritual formation theories and practices, author John Ackerman equips and empowers congregations to listen for God. Central to the book is an exploration of spiritual growth stages and preferred spirituality types. As he coaches the congregation and its leaders in beginning the process of listening for God, Ackerman asks, “where do you hear God calling you?” After defining discernment, he describes a possible spiritual formation process for congregations. The book’s appendix, with reproducible handouts, includes spiritual exercises and a process for discernment of vision. Pastors, lay leaders, church council presidents, and congregational members can benefit from this book personally and as they lead their committees, groups, classes and congregations into the process of discernment.