As a young person growing up in New Zealand I remember repeatedly asking my parents the question, “What am I supposed to do in life?” They took me to Careers Nights put on by the school but I agonized for years over this vocational question.
After I embarked on theological training and began to serve as a church pastor, the question continued to confront me and, while I was acquiring a sizeable bank of experience and a rich treasury of guidance principles, the elusive challenge of discernment has never been easy.
I would be rich if I had been given $50 for every time someone asked me the question (or a variation of it): “How can I discover God’s will for my life or in this situation?” As a pastor, this is the question I have been asked more than any other. Sharing the weight of this question and its consequences has been a significant part of the privilege of being a pastor.
When my vocational journey took a new twist in which I served as a consultant with Australian Baptist Churches, I came to see that the issue of corporate discernment is pivotal to local churches and denominations in discovering their unique personality and mission.
My path turned later in the direction of training and leadership, first as a lecturer and then as Principal of Whitley College, the Baptist College of Victoria, and I discovered that student interviews and course planning were vitally connected with matters of discernment.
In recent years I have relocated with my wife to the Arabian Peninsula and I am testing out new vocational directions. Daily we are being confronted with questions of discernment. This book, therefore, does not come as a last word on discernment because one never actually nails it as one might solve a Sudoku puzzle. The issues of discernment change from time to time and from person to person because they are about the dynamic way that God relates to each individual in their uniqueness.
This sketch of some of the main stages of my life is provided not only to give some background to the author but to acknowledge my gratitude. To my parents who loved me into life, to congregations who nurtured my faith and trusted me, to my wife Lyn and our son and daughter, Mark and Bronwyn, with whom I have shared the journey, to the Whitley and Baptist Union of Victoria communities who provided much of the context in which my calling has been shaped and to those involved in my current, freelancing and borderless vocation, I am deeply grateful.
Making Life Decisions is offered with the hope that your journey will be one of adventure and delight as “you discern what is the will of God—what is good, acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12: 2)
Copyright © 2007 Geoff Pound Making Life Decisions