This blog revolves around a recent coaching call with Reese Neyland, who discusses the Renew Network, an organization focused on creating learning communities for church leaders to share resources and insights. Reese highlights the diverse backgrounds of participants, the formation of Renew Network, and its emphasis on uniting various tribes within the restoration movement to promote discipleship. The interview touches on Reese' background, the Learning Community structure, and the relevance of Renew's resources to both senior ministers and church members.
Reese Neyland has been learning and focusing on discipling others to follow Jesus since his baptism in Gainesville, Florida, in 1978. He has been a church leader since 1982 and has been in the Los Angeles area since he moved there with his family in 1989 to plant a church. That church started with 50 disciples and is currently around 5,500 members with many other churches planted all over the world. He has also been overseeing the maturing and planting of churches in the Nordic countries for over twenty years now.
"Renew a steadfast Spirit within me" Psalm 51:10-12
Embracing Renew Network: A Call to Continuous Learning
In a world filled with diverse teachings and perspectives, the Renew Network stands as a beacon for those seeking to deepen their understanding of theology and discipleship by renewing the teachings of Jesus to fuel disciple making. Rooted in the desire to create a community of learners, Renew brings together individuals from various Christian traditions, aiming to cultivate a shared commitment to making disciples. The network's primary focus is to unite people from different streams of the Restoration Movement, emphasizing a common salvation theology. However, what sets Renew apart is its unique dedication to the art of Jesus style disciple-making.
Learning Beyond Bias and Boundaries: A Lesson from Jesus
"If you're done learning; you're just done. It's what you learn after you think you know everything that really counts"
Reese shared with us that the call to continuous learning echoes the actions of Jesus during his youth. In Luke 2, we find a 12-year-old Jesus in the temple, not debating with teachers but actively listening and asking questions. And these were his future enemies who would one day kill him! This profound act of learning from those outside his immediate circle speaks volumes about the importance of seeking wisdom beyond one's own faith traditions. This same teachable spirit is at work in the Renew community. While it acknowledges that valuable insights can come from various Christian traditions, the network does not seek to replace existing affiliations but invites participants to broaden their perspectives by engaging with fellow learners from different backgrounds.
"After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." - Luke 2:43-52 NIV
Resources: A Gateway to Growth
One of the key features of Renew is its accessibility. The network recognizes that time constraints and existing commitments might deter some individuals from actively engaging. To address this, Renew offers an array of resources—free ebooks, paid books, podcasts, articles, and newsletters—all available on their user-friendly website. I highly encourage you to check out their content or sign up for their newsletter!
Renew Network serves as an invitation to all Christians, irrespective of their current affiliations, to embark on a journey of continuous learning. By embracing this opportunity, we not only enrich our understanding of discipleship but also foster unity among believers from different walks of faith.
In the spirit of Jesus, who sought wisdom beyond his immediate circle, let us open our hearts and minds to the diverse teachings Renew Network has to offer. In doing so, we might discover new insights that propel us toward a more profound relationship with God and a more effective approach to making disciples.