Run in such a way that you may win. 1 Cor 9:24
Manifesto? Sounds rather radical doesn’t it? While there is nothing inherently radical about a manifesto, there is something very serious about it. Manifestos are created after much deep thought and contemplation. The dictionary says “A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.” We think that when one recognizes the importance of healthy community and the benefits of developing it, many will agree that it is an intention worthy of a manifesto.
The Community Builder Manifesto is written out of a deep concern about the Church’s need to be transformed in the dynamics of community typically being practiced. There has been much written about the need for growing a community culture where deep heart connection stirs a spiritual dynamic that is both spiritually invigorating to believers and contagiously attractive to unbelievers. Quality of community (unity, love flourishing between people, deep heart connecting etc.) is recognized by many Christian leaders as something that is in deep need of repair.
We think the root of the problem exists on three fronts: 1. A profound misunderstanding of the role community plays in fulfilling God’s plan for creation; 2. A lack of understanding how seriously community is broken within the church; and 3. A lack of grass roots passion, vision and determination for creating such a community. Community richness doesn’t happen without active community builders. When community members grow a passion for this dimension and take ownership for changing it, then significant change can take place. The reason this passion has to be grass roots is because the passion has to exist at the level of where community takes place. When individuals realize this dimension really matters, that it changes everything for a church and that it’s up to the community to create great community, then real change can take place. Our experience is that when this commitment is combined with an understanding of how to grow rich community, transformation starts to take place. A community emerges that becomes life changing for those living in it. more
As you reflect on these statements of intent, we are hoping that they strike you as something that would make a difference both for you and those around you. We have found that when community builders emerge and partner with others to build the communities they live in, they experience a challenge that not only changes the community, but it changes those attempting to make the changes.
The Community Builder Manifesto seeks to put to words the purposes and lifestyle that causes these types of communities. This type of purposeful living creates communities that are inherently contagious and a force that makes the beauty of Christianity visible to today’s world.
The Community Builder Manifesto
I being in sound mind and under no coercion by others do make the following declaration of a purpose and pursuit that I have chosen as a life-long cause worthy of my devotion.
- I am Called. I know I have a deep need for healthy community and that spiritual vitality is built through deeply connecting with other believers. As rich relationships are not a normal experience in North America, achieving healthy community will not be easy and will be rarely experienced unless individuals seek to understand it, to build it and protect it once it is built. So I commit myself to becoming/being a community builder and using my talents to further this cause. Healthy communities are groups of groups that bring healing to individuals, foster their maturing and eventually become a group with passion & skill for creating other communities where grace flourishes and as a result lives are transformed.
- I am a Watchman (watchwoman) looking out for the hearts of others – especially in how well they are connecting. I understand that faith is critical to our spiritual well being and that an unbelieving, disconnected heart happens easily and can cause great damage. So I seek to watch out for others at the level of the heart to protect them and encourage them when it gets hard to believe in God’s goodness. I understand that success will require many people working together in this cause. So I will pay special attention to how well my brothers and sisters are maturing into spiritual warriors who, grounded in deep spiritual vitality, are becoming equipped and passionate to protect others and see deep relationships form and spiritual vitality flourish within communities.
- I Need Others. I know that I cannot be spiritually strong without the help of others revealing and protecting my weaknesses. I need others involved in my life contributing strongly to my well-being. So I make it my life practice to search for, find and maintain rich relationships with a few others who know me well & protect me: who are committed to my overall but especially my spiritual well-being as well as I to theirs.
- I am a Game Changer. I recognize that rich community is a game changer for the church and pursuing it is a game changer for me. Rich community is built on growing a heart devotion to Christ where an awakening of Christ’s love within us grows a divine ability to love others and the humility to welcome and experience being loved by others. As this deep connecting materializes, the Church becomes transformed.
- I Thirst. I recognize deep connecting is an issue of the heart. It requires a soft heart. A soft heart is developed through sorrow, thirst and longing for that which God truly desires for me. A soft heart is grounded in the humility of recognizing I need God and others. A soft heart is grounded in knowing my weaknesses my limitations and that apart from Christ I can do nothing significant. My thirst will draw me to others who thirst. Scripture promises that those that thirst will be filled. Together we will be transformed.
- I Celebrate my Weakness. I recognize that the flesh cannot be reformed. I know that as I mature, the flesh that I once put confidence in will become more and more clearly seen as broken. Understanding my weaknesses allows me to experience Christ’s strength in me and it triggers the thirst that moves my heart towards God. I clearly understand that my flesh has absolutely no hope of being the source of redemption in me. I know that losing this hope will not be easy because something deep in me wants to rise as the hero, as the superstar of my accomplishments.
- I Trust. I am Optimistic because Scripture says “He who began a good work in me will complete it”. My success in this spiritual endeavour is rooted in faith & trust; in learning to love and be loved. Growth is a byproduct of His work in me that is unleashed through faith.
- I am a Learner. I commit myself to this pursuit: to growing spiritual vitality and communities. I do this knowing that much learning is required for me to walk it well. I make this commitment knowing that I don’t yet have the understanding nor the strength in Him to do it well. But I commit to it knowing it will stretch me to have the quality of faith that will transform me as I am challenged beyond my strength – a challenge that can only be accomplished by teaming with God and others.
- Light is my Protector. I will not fear whatever is revealed through light. Walking in light is what makes it possible for me to connect deeply with God and others. I seek to learn the beauty of light and recognize that to dwell in light I will need to learn how to relax in light. As I discover light I am loving more and more how it sets me free. I only learn to do this well in relationships of light. Walking in light makes a level of connecting with others possible that cannot be achieved any other way.
- I Am A New Creation. I recognize that my new identify in Christ forms the basis for breaking free from shame. It gives us all equal status as his brothers and sisters and co-heirs with Christ in the kingdom that is being built. Rich community can only be formed from believers who recognize their worthiness comes through Christ, not themselves. I recognize my worthiness comes from Him and far exceeds any worthiness that I can create from my own accomplishments.
- We Unlock Mysteries Together. As we together develop deep connecting, it unlocks mysteries that have been hidden for ages. The mystery of Christianity is hidden and lost until it is unlocked by hearts being knit together in love, by experiencing rich relationships where love flourishes. This takes place in healthy community where rich connecting grows and becomes a life changing force. Somehow as we learn to love deeply the door opens to understanding God’s mysteries which are hidden in Christ. As a community builder, I get to participate in and enable the greatest transformational power on earth where the mysteries, hidden from before the foundations of the earth, of life are revealed.
Recognizing the above, I join arms with any any all who embrace this manifesto as a lifestyle worthy of a life long pursuit. I declare this manifesto for myself knowing that the benefactor will be all who belong to Him, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
(For information on why this Manifesto is so important go HERE)