The Order is now three years old, and therefore this was the first occasion on which the first Temporary members to join could take vows as Permanent members. We were among the first group to join, back in April 2003. However, our circumstances have changed so much over the past year, and we have so much needing to be processed at the moment, that we really didn’t feel we should go ahead with vows of Permanency this time around (you can take them after three years, and then have a further three years over which they can be taken). We weren’t the only ones to defer, or to seriously consider deferring, this step. But I feel that to do so indicates not any less commitment to the Order, but rather a very serious commitment – too serious to treat it lightly.
While my interests and influences within the missional adventure are broad, for me I think the bottom-line comes down to discipleship – to being and making disciples. And, in my opinion, the Lifeshapes which form the pattern of discipleship for the Order are the best tools I have come across for a life of discipleship: for discipleship in every aspect of life (not just that which falls into the ‘spiritual’ box of the deeply flawed sacred/secular dichotomy). (That said, I do think the Lifeshapes need to be communicated relationally, and not primarily through the publications; they are okay in a supporting role, but don’t work ‘up front’…)
The Order of Mission