Discerning Your Context Workshop

Uncover hidden cultural dynamics


Our Discerning Your Context Workshop is focused on learning how to uncover and understand social dynamics in your ministry context so you can respond to the Spirit's work within the system, structures, and social dynamics that make up your congregation.

In any community, there are deeply held assumptions that shape how people think, talk, and act. These assumptions often operate without our awareness, like water for fish.

The problem is that most leaders don’t know how to discern what’s at work under the surface, and this creates tension between aspiration (who you want to be) and reality (who you actually are). Even more, unexamined structures often (unintentionally) center one group of people and marginalize others.

It's good that leaders are learning how to listen to their own interior life and discerning what is going on in their soul. It's good that leaders are listening to Scripture and discerning what’s going on in the text. But are leaders listening to the social forces in their congregation and discerning what’s really shaping their community?

More than meets the eye

The good news about everything happening in the systems and structures beneath the surface is that the Spirit of God is already working, making room for new and unexpected forms of life to grow. This workshop is all about learning how to notice and cooperate with how the Spirit is already working new creation in your context.

What You'll Learn

How to lead for change from generative questions (rather than deficit questions)

How to notice and name systems and structures

How to use simple tools of social analysis and apply to your congregation

How to address the gaps between your vision and practice

Typical schedule

Teaching session (2 hours)

Dialogue and practice (2 hours)

Discerning and “appreciative inquiry” (2 hours)

Meet the facilitator


Seth Richardson, Director of Gravity Congregational Transformation, facilitates our Discerning Your Context Workshops.

Seth has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Wheaton Graduate School, and Northern Seminary, where his doctoral research weaves together theological and sociological disciplines. Seth’s heart and vision is grounded in his passion for all the particulars of local church ministry.

An Anglican priest, he has served in a variety of roles in churches in Chicago and Arkansas for over a decade. Seth is also one of our coaches and a writer for Missio Alliance. Seth lives with his wife and two daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Connect with Seth.

Fill out the form below to ask about bringing a Discerning Your Context Workshop to your area.