Introductory 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 renovare.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.

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 reg­u­lar pod­casts on ren​o​vare​.org. 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.

Pho­to by Evie S. on Unsplash

Text First Published May 2016 · Last Featured on Renovare.org May 2022

New Online Course: Liv­ing Inside the Lord’s Prayer

Author, teacher, and song­writer Car­olyn Arends pulls back the veil of famil­iar­i­ty to throw fresh light on the bril­liant­ly suc­cinct prayer Jesus taught his dis­ci­ples to pray. Launch sale: 30% off through May 17.

Watch the Trailer >