Shared Commitments

Shared Commitments

Covenant Retreat 2012

We are groups quite different from each other, yet gathered by Jesus’ love and call to discipleship in a community context. We desire the support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters of the Shalom Mission Communities to faithfully live out the following commitments:

Stability:  We desire community bonds that will uphold us in lifelong commitment to service in Jesus’ name, remaining faithful to our brothers and sisters in their needs through all of life’s stages. We want to remain faithful in our relationships, to confess our sins, and forgive one another. We want to commit ourselves, with God’s help, to give and receive admonition according to Matthew 18:15-20

Non-Violence and Self-giving love: Jesus calls us to love our enemies as he has loved us. We are committed to a non-violent struggle for justice in solidarity with the oppressed of our world. We want to resist racism and all other powers that divide our human family, seeking a life of repentance and reconciliation with all.

Leadership:  The Holy Spirit has given gifts of service to each member of our communities. Among these are gifts of leadership “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building of up the Body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:1-16)

smc delegationSince many persons in our society and in our communities have been wounded by their experience of leadership, we want our communities to be places of healing, accountability and growing trust—where each person can be heard and where leadership is open to all according to God’s gifts and calling.

To this end our communities have procedures for reviewing and commissioning leaders in which all members participate. Leadership will normally function in a team approach. We open our communities to the counsel and support of other Shalom Mission Communities in periodic visitations, to review our body life and our experience of leadership.

Possessions:  We renounce personal possessions as our security, and we reject accumulation of possessions as our goal. Instead, all we have belongs to God. We trust God to care for us in a body of mutual aid and radical sharing. We are called to an ongoing conversion of life that is especially shaped by our experience of Jesus in the weak, the poor and marginal.

Sexuality:  We accept celibacy for singles and fidelity in marriage. Commitment to singleness for the Lord’s sake is a real option, with community recognition and support.

Vocations:  Our vocations are found in Christian servanthood and community, rather than in pursuing personal careers wherever they might lead us. At the same time, we want to assist each one to discern and develop the gifts God has given, so they can be of practical service for the Kingdom.

Decision-Making:  We want to live in mutual submission for the sake of the Gospel, accountable to one another in our lifestyles and basic decisions. We present ourselves ready to stay in community or to be sent in mission, according to God’s call as discerned in our community.

IMG_3188Family:  Our family responsibilities are supported by community so that our service need not be limited to our families.

Spirituality:  We accept the need for community disciplines that shape a common life of prayer, Bible study and worship, so that the Holy Spirit can teach and lead us together concerning what we should do and how we should live.

Good News:  In Jesus the world has good news, which we are privileged to share and to proclaim. The power of sin is broken, making community possible! By his death on the cross we also die and are set free to live for the One who has loved us—empowered to risk all for the Kingdom of God because of the resurrection which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.

An invitation to…

Individuals and families:  This way of serving Jesus in community is not better than other ways of being Christian, nor is it advisable for everyone to try it. Still, in a society that relentlessly pursues consumption, power and self, we find that Christ-centered community helps us to love and to serve with more abandon and more trust than we could ever sustain by ourselves. A good way to test if this might be your calling would be to pay us a visit, which we would be glad to arrange.

Other communities:  Beyond the circle of Shalom Mission Communities, we are also part of a wider network (which we sometimes call “Shalom Connections”) of other groups more loosely affiliated, who sustain and inspire us on this shared journey. Shalom Connections is a quarterly newsletter by which we try to stay in touch with friends and “fellow travelers” in the Christian intentional community movement.

If other communities wish to explore membership in Shalom Mission Communities, the door is open through informal visits and participation in Shalom events like retreats and conferences. In these ways we hope to get to know each other better, and to test if God is blessing our dialogues with unity in spirit and truth.