Corporate Discernment


Corporate Discernment

In the context of leadership in the Body of Christ, Barton (2012) talked about something called “corporate discernment.” We will discuss this term in order to understand Group Word to a better degree.


Corporate discernment is described as responding to the activity of God as a leadership group and to make decisions in response to that presence. The Group Word, similar to corporate discernment, is about listening to God, to each other, and to what is going on in each of our own souls (Barton, 2012).


There is a process for group listening in order to hear a collective word from God. Leadership also involves listening with discernment with love and attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit, to Scripture, and to that place where the Spirit of God witnesses with our spirit about the things that are true. In short, leaders need to have the True Mind. The Conditioned Mind cannot connect with the Spirit of God. It cannot receive a Group Word that would allow the leader to lead the group accordingly.

What can we do to receive a Group Word? The first thing to do is to be intentional. The leader must set the agenda. If you intend to receive the group word, you must set the agenda in such a way that the right information is available to the group before and during the group meeting. The leader needs to make sure the necessary voices are heard, and that there is plenty of space for prayer, listening and silence, as well as response (Barton, 2012).


Another important thing about receiving a Group Word is to listen together. When the group gathers, you must have a clear set of questions that you intend to know the answers to. You must be in the same space. Everyone in the group must have the same information. There should be no secrets or hidden agenda. Remember, you are leading a group into a world that works for you and me. You should put aside any self-interest in the matter.


Agree together. The goal of meetings that are intended to receive a Group Word is for everyone to end up saying, “To the best of our ability, we agree that this particular path is God’s will for us. So this is the direction we will go.” The  leader will articulate what the meeting came up with as the conclusion to which God seems to be leading them. As a group, you agree if the issue needs more prayer and reflection, or if the group is ready to move forward. The leader enrolls, invites, and registers the group members into the direction that they intend to go.



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