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 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. 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 renovare.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.

Renovaré Book Club: Next Book Begins Soon

The next book in the Renovaré Book Club, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, runs February 3-March 21. Join others online or in-person, or take a guided journey through the book on your own.

Learn More >