Renewing Missional Communities

To frame this vital question let me ask you to listen to a 30 minute commencement address of Catholic scholar and mystic, Henri Nouwen. Nouwen inseparably links communion with the Father, authentic community with those with whom we are in mission, and our mission extending the ministry of Christ. I believe this to be the foundation of renewal which is normally unseen but foundational to effective and ongoing mission.

Please listen (or download) here (MP3).

Sometimes communities of those following Jesus become weary or gradually allow other priorities to enter. Those new priorities may be positive in themselves but not ultimate in God's redemptive purposes. Because external pressures and temptations are constant, renewal must also be constant, including:

1. Personal renewal and refreshment from the daily spiritual disciplines seeking deeper relationship with Jesus Christ first of all. 

2. If you are a leader in the community join with leaders of other Christian communities to share the stories of your respective communities, to learn from one another and pray for one another in the process of seeking renewal, personally and for the communities you serve.

3. Some communities have found it helpful to interact with their members periodically around purposeful questions to help in the process of re-evaluation and growth:

  • What aspects of your life and work brings you personal satisfaction?

  • Where do you see God most active in your life?

  • Where would you like to see Christ working in your life in the next six to twelve months?

  • How would you like to invest in the lives of other people?

  • How can we pray for you in this season of growth and renewal?

4. Let me commend also several excellent books from which I've benefited greatly...

  • Robert Lewis, Church of Irresistible Influence. (Zondervan, Grand Rapids) 2001

  • Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical (Zondervan, Grand Rapids), 2006

  • Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church, Hendrickson Publishers, 2003 ISBN: 978-1-8768-2587-4.