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:
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.”
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