Thursday, October 25, 2007

"What is a CovenantCluster?"

This morning I received this question in a comment on the "Blogging Blues" thread...and I replied that this might be a good time to answer that general question for anyone else wondering that very same thing!

So here goes...

Part of the reason for this blog is to share/process a vision for establishing intentional, neo-monastic, self-replicating disciple-making communities where mentor families and apprentice families live in close proximity (not necessarily the same house, but as neighbors in a larger neighborhood) in order to learn together day by day the lessons of discipleship. In this way we invite the Holy Spirit into our midst to make us more and more like Jesus Christ in every possible way--with as much transparency and accountability and humility and inclusiveness as we can bear.

This "adaptive challenge" of living interdependently (with a focus on sharing resources for meeting true needs) in our individualistic society (which tends to confuse need with want) is what provides us with an environment where "communitas" can be formed (and reformed as adaptive challenges continue to present themselves).

Communitas is the strong bond that forms among those who have banded together in order to overcome a mutual adaptive challenge or accomplish a shared mission. It is different from common forms of community, which can be formed around anything from shared interests to friendship to fellowship to worship, but doesn't necessarily have a palpable sense of shared mission that embraces and transcends the diversity of its members. Jesus said that there is no greater love than that which is willing to give up one's very life for the sake of the other. He also said that the world would know his disciples by their loving each other in this very manner.

In my experience of being a Christ-follower these 42 years, the missing piece in readily making disciples who actually go on to make disciples comes from a lack of experiencing this kind of love in the context of our daily lives--and the various adaptive challenges that we face 24/7/365. Our 20th and 21st century lives have made little room for apprenticeship of any form, much less this most important one--especially since Future Shock is already here!

And so, we will form "Clusters" of families of mentors and apprentices who belong to God's New "Covenant" in Jesus Christ--thereby bringing Christ out of "church buildings" and into their neighborhood, where they "are" the living Church--day in and day out--for all to see and experience. In this way we become incarnational (giving "flesh" to the Christ who loves and lives in and through us by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit) as well as missional (joining with God in his mission of reconciliation of humans, who bear his very image, with himself and with each other).

I am very well aware that this is a huge, sweeping vision...and will be unpacking each of its components over the coming weeks (who knows how many?). I welcome your questions and comments, as always...but you may have to be patient with the process. You'll be hearing me repeat this phrase often: "Don't wait. Be patient." Don't wait to follow where God is leading you. Be patient as you walk with him along the path.

Thanks for journeying with me on this path.

Be blessed.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, seems like I found your blog Just in God's Time! I was on Alan Hirsch's site because I met him at Willow Creek. You welcomed me on his blog.

I'm not officially a member to any official church. This last summer I asked to be released from the organization into the organism or greater body. This is giving me the freedom to build community where I live. It's exciting, natural, and scary at times.

Looking forward to learning as you journey.

A Little Toe

AbiSomeone said...

Welcome to my humble blog, Little Toe!

I found my way to Alan's site because I met him at an Organic Church Planting Conference last January...and have met many "virtual" brothers and sisters there and other places.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you and to hearing bits of your your time, of course!

Be blessed.

sonja said...

Wow ... this sounds very similar to the grounding that a group of friends that I run with has. We're share a common purse and are committed to each other and living out Christ's mission together even though we are dispersed amongst our larger community. So now we have an official name ... Covenant Cluster. I love it ...

AbiSomeone said...

Isn't that interesting, Sonja? Stay tuned for the rest of the story about's a big vision ;^)

Bless you for loving each other and caring for one another's needs...I know that Jesus feels your love and I'm fairly certain others do too.

Janet Woodlock said...

Hey Peggy / Abisomeone, I made it! Love this blog and I'll try to keep up the visits. (although I think I'm in serious danger of "over-blogging"!)

AbiSomeone said...

Thanks for visiting, Janet!

Yes, it is possible to get sucked into "over-blogging" may want to say it with me..."My name is _______ and I'm a blogaholic."

Love your site...left you a note there...looking for time to read everything and maybe comment on the leadership thread, as you suggested I might.


Rowland said...

I like your 'clusters'. A few years ago my wife had a vision of our island nation covered with wonderful colours - some of which were clusters of flowers, planted just everywhere and some of which were wonderful butterflies - a wonderfull blaze of glorious colour splashed across the whole island. Developing thoughts were the flowers represented clusters of Christians planted almost everywhere; the butterflies represented more itinerate servants who stimulated the reproductive cycle of the plants. Both were inter-dependent. Your 'covenant' aspect explores another ingredient. Thanks.

Janet Woodlock said...

Well how nice to hear from you too Rowland! Do you remember me from Blackburn Baptist days? (Ed and Nancy White's daughter, Rosemary and John's sister?)

This is a very small world!

Thanks for the visit and even the link Peggy! I feel a bit humbled as I feel like my little blogging experiment is pretty lowbrow! But I'll look out for your comments with much interest.

Love Janet

Janet Woodlock said...

Oh, I should add Peggy your comment doesn't seem to have registered at secret women's space. Do you find Blogspot is reliable? I'm finding it a bit quirky and mulling over moving it to a different space... anyway, I'll make sure the link stays there if this happens. This will be a while off anyway because Churches of Christ Australia national media are planning to launch a big interactive site, and that will be the logical spot to park my blog eventually.

AbiSomeone said...


Thanks for sharing the vision...very interesting about the butterflies...hmmm!


Simple is best, in my book, sister!

I don't know what happened to my comment...or even where I left it!

I don't have enough experience to know about glitches...I figure all the glitches are "user problems" of mine ;^)

And isn't it a small world, that you two should meet up in my tiny blog? How fun!