Editor's note:

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.

Tucked into the bot­tom of each page at ren​o​vare​.org is this bold state­ment packed with pow­er and pos­si­bil­i­ty. We invite our vis­i­tors to con­sid­er tak­ing this vow into their hearts and lives as a covenant with God. So far, more than 6,000 peo­ple have been led to make this com­mit­ment to spir­i­tu­al trans­for­ma­tion and renew­al day-by-day.

We were curi­ous to know a lit­tle more about the his­to­ry of the Ren­o­varé Covenant, so we turned to Ren­o­varé Board and Min­istry Team mem­ber, Richel­la Parham. Richel­la has prayed for our Covenant sign­ers for the past sev­er­al years, and when­ev­er a new per­son signs the Covenant, he or she is giv­en a free down­load of Richella’s e‑book, A Spir­i­tu­al For­ma­tion Primer. She gra­cious­ly pro­vid­ed us with some fur­ther infor­ma­tion, and we are hap­py to share with you a bit of Renovaré’s his­to­ry and mis­sion below.

—Renovaré Team

The Rea­son for the Covenant 

After Cel­e­bra­tion of Dis­ci­pline was pub­lished, Richard Fos­ter received many invi­ta­tions to speak. As he trav­eled around, he noticed three things: that peo­ple were try­ing rather than train­ing to be more like Christ; that peo­ple’s vision was myopic rather than syn­op­tic; and that peo­ple were scat­tered rather than gath­ered. Ren­o­varé was born out of a call­ing to address these issues. 

One of the visions that the Spir­it gave Richard, back in the time when denom­i­na­tion­al divi­sions were much more impor­tant than they are today, was that God was rais­ing up a peo­ple who would be gath­ered rather than scat­tered. Read­ing the After­word” to Streams of Liv­ing Water gives a rich descrip­tion of that vision, and the Ren­o­varé Covenant is a spe­cif­ic embod­i­ment of it. 

The Ear­ly Days of the Covenant 

I believe the Covenant was draft­ed in the ear­li­est days of Ren­o­varé dur­ing the time when Ren­o­varé was doing reg­u­lar region­al con­fer­ences. [We know for cer­tain it was already in use by the time of the first Ren­o­varé Nation­al Con­fer­ence in Novem­ber, 1989] Richard Fos­ter and James Bryan Smith (among oth­ers) worked togeth­er on the Covenant to get the word­ing just right. It was quite a feat to pack so much into one sentence! 

Richard had the Covenant print­ed on cards that peo­ple could car­ry with them. He used those dur­ing the Grand Invi­ta­tion of Grace” he offered at the end of each of the region­al con­fer­ences. He would say that he was shame­less­ly recruit­ing” for peo­ple to join with him and oth­ers on the jour­ney of being formed into Christ­like­ness, which they could sig­ni­fy by sign­ing the Ren­o­varé Covenant. Obvi­ous­ly this was not a for­mal or con­trac­tu­al arrange­ment, but we have always con­sid­ered it to be an impor­tant agree­ment between each believ­er and God. 

I remem­ber very well when I attend­ed my first Ren­o­varé con­fer­ence and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Grand Invi­ta­tion of Grace. I signed the Covenant and took a card, pledg­ing sin­cere­ly that in utter depen­dence on 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.” It made a big impres­sion on me, as I think it did on many others. 

The Ren­o­varé min­istry pur­posed to pro­vide Covenant sign­ers with resources to help them along the way. The Heart-to-Heart let­ters and Ren­o­varé Per­spec­tive newslet­ters were mailed out to peo­ple, along with invi­ta­tions to con­fer­ences, retreats, etc.

An Ongo­ing Invitation

Today, we pro­vide these resources pri­mar­i­ly dig­i­tal­ly, through dai­ly posts and week­ly pod­casts on ren​o​vare​.org. Richard’s son, Nathan Fos­ter, not only hosts the pod­casts but con­tin­ues to offer a Heart-to-Heart let­ter bi-month­ly. The mis­sion of Ren­o­varé is alive and well. More impor­tant­ly, Jesus still invites us to an abun­dant, con­tin­u­al­ly renewed life. Let’s con­tin­ue to say yes!”

Read Richard Fos­ter’s brief his­to­ry of the Covenant enti­tled A Place to Stand.

Sign the Ren­o­varé Covenant.

Join the 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion. Cur­rent­ly under­way and runs through May 2021.

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