Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wisdom from Mr. Foster

While on my lunchbreak, I stumbled upon seven lessons from Richard Foster regarding ministry. Renovare is Foster's organization that has been established for at least 15 years.

Lesson 1: Always stay light on your feet. Effective ministry does not require huge overheads from the costs of buildings and people.

Lesson 2: Always focus on being a movement: Aviod the forces of institutionalization that depersonalizes or at worst chews people up. Organism is to be preferred over organization; but organization is not "bad". Just stay dynamic and nimble; only have the minimum structure necessary.

Lesson 3: Always attend to the soul's growth in grace: Distractions to this abound; even religious distractions. Richard says "we evaluate everything with the simple question: will this help people grow in grace?"

Less on 4: Always center on life in the Kingdom of God: The advance of Jesus and his Kingdom comes first. Always! We must decrease that Jesus and his Kingdom can increase.

Lesson 5: Always prefer people over programs: What really helps and enhances the lives of people? This is the question Renovare asks. If we are pushing ourselves, or staff or our volunteers too hard we back off. We should never have to disobey the way Christ taught us to live in order to do the work God has given us to do.

Lesson 6: Always trust the Spirit, never the flesh: By "flesh," Richard means humanly initiated activity without any reference to God. Richard often critiques Renovare's work by asking "how much of what has happened at a certain event cannot be explained by our skill or brain power, or how was our skill and brain power used in ways that is beyond us?"

Lesson 7: Always follow the passion: Before launching a new initiative, Renovare always waits until someone demonstrates passion. This requires discipline and patience. They have at times waited for years for the right person, passion and resources to come together. Then they step out in faith..

"These are simple lessons; most we will have heard before. But like going on a diet, hearing isn’t the big deal; doing is." (Todd Hunter) Foster has helped me in several avenues of my journey through his writings. I hope this is a source of encouragement to you and your ministry. Numbers 2, 5 and 6 resonate with me. How about you?