Chapter 3 » 3.26
The use of small groups in identifying needs and reaching decisions
The focus of this chapter has been the working of our Quaker business method through the tried and tested structures of our meetings for church affairs. It is however important to be aware of the contribution that groups other than our meetings for church affairs and their committees can make to our decision-making process. These might include discussion meetings, threshing meetings or meetings for clearness. From time to time a meeting may benefit from looking at itself and identifying specific areas needing attention: pastoral care, outreach, or major changes such as rebuilding or developing premises. The discussion of such matters in small groups, properly constituted, can help to involve the whole meeting and prepare it for decisions which must eventually be taken in the regular meeting for church affairs. Valuable suggestions and solutions may come from individuals who would not feel able to voice them in the more formal meeting. The terms of reference and limits of the group’s decision-making responsibility must be made clear at the outset.
For meetings for clearness see also relevant sections:
4.23 on the amicable settlement of disputes;
11.11 in relation to applications for membership;
13.01 on testing personal leadings;
13.08 & 13.11 on the process of discernment of concern;
16.37–16.39 in relation to intentions of marriage.