Renovare

Story

Found­ed by Richard J. Fos­ter in 1988, Ren­o­varé has always sought to advo­cate, resource, and mod­el the with-God life. 

After the 1978 pub­li­ca­tion of Cel­e­bra­tion of Dis­ci­pline, Richard was invit­ed to speak to thou­sands of Chris­tians whom he found to be hun­gry for this life. Among them, he observed that peo­ple were try­ing rather than train­ing, scat­tered rather than gath­ered, and myopic rather than syn­op­tic. As he reflect­ed on those obser­va­tions, he dis­cerned the Lord call­ing him to begin a min­istry that would aid these dear peo­ple in their search for a bet­ter way. Armed with lit­tle more than a laser print­er, Richard found­ed Ren­o­varé in Wichi­ta, Kansas in 1988

Richard gath­ered a few friends will­ing to work with him in teach­ing and liv­ing the with-God life. Ear­ly mem­bers of the Ren­o­varé team includ­ed Bill Vaswig, Dal­las Willard, James Bryan Smith, and Mar­ti Ensign. 

From the begin­ning, Richard’s vision was to devel­op a min­istry that was Chris­t­ian in com­mit­ment, ecu­meni­cal in breadth, and inter­na­tion­al in scope. So Ren­o­varé team mem­bers came from all dif­fer­ent walks of life, from dif­fer­ent streams of Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion, and from dif­fer­ent ethnicities. 

Ren­o­varé team mem­bers togeth­er devel­oped a bal­anced vision of life in Christ and a prac­ti­cal strat­e­gy for spir­i­tu­al for­ma­tion that they taught in var­i­ous venues all over the world. 

The prin­ci­pal means of teach­ing became the Ren­o­varé Region­al Con­fer­ences. These con­fer­ences includ­ed pow­er­ful times of prayer and demon­stra­tion of the work­ing of spir­i­tu­al for­ma­tion groups. They proved to be life-giv­ing for many thou­sands of Chris­tians. Atten­dees were invit­ed to sign the Ren­o­varé covenant, which summed up in one sen­tence the com­mit­ment of the Ren­o­varé life: 

In utter depen­dence upon Jesus Christ as my ever-liv­ing Sav­ior, Teacher, Lord, and Friend, I will seek con­tin­u­al renew­al through spir­i­tu­al exer­cis­es, spir­i­tu­al gifts, and acts of service.

Those who signed the Ren­o­varé covenant became beloved mem­bers of the Ren­o­varé community. 

The min­istry grew as Richard and the min­istry team car­ried the Ren­o­varé mes­sage far and wide. Team mem­bers pub­lished a num­ber of books, includ­ing by Dal­las Willard, by James Bryan Smith and Lyn­da Gray­beal, by Richard Fos­ter, and many oth­ers. In 2005, the huge project of pub­lish­ing a Ren­o­varé study Bible came to fruition. 

Large forums for shar­ing the Ren­o­varé mes­sage were pro­vid­ed in the form of Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ences. At these large con­fer­ences, peo­ple gath­ered from all over the world to learn more of the with-God life. Mean­while, inter­na­tion­al expres­sions of the Ren­o­varé min­istry flour­ished in Britain and Ire­land, Korea, Brazil, and oth­er countries. 

Ren­o­varé Covenant retreats were also devel­oped to pro­vide a small­er, slow­er set­ting for teach­ing, fel­low­ship, soli­tude, and prayer. 

Richard Fos­ter served as Renovaré’s pres­i­dent for the first 17 years. A lengthy clear­ing process brought the next pres­i­dent, Chris Webb. Five years lat­er, Rachel Quan fol­lowed as Exec­u­tive Direc­tor. In July 2015 Chris Hall became the new Ren­o­varé president. 

The Lord has seen fit to pre­serve the Ren­o­varé min­istry for over 25 years. Beloved team mem­bers Bill Vaswig and Dal­las Willard have gone on to be with the Lord face-to-face. But even as we miss these dear ones, the gra­cious fel­low­ship and prayer­ful com­mu­ni­ty of Ren­o­varé moves forward. 

As we con­sid­er what God may have in store for the min­istry, we remain con­vinced as ever of what was revealed to Richard Fos­ter many years ago: Fun ahead saith the Lord.”

— Richel­la Parham

Next: Renovaré Covenant

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