the four streams

Vision for Spirituality and Rule of Life

 

Corporate and Individual Commitments to Help us Engage our Common Spirituality

At Servant Partners, we believe that as God calls us to walk alongside the poor, He journeys with us. As a group we have strived to lean into God's presence in meaningful ways. In the tradition of many Christian communities throughout history, we have developed a Rule of Life to guide our continued conversation. We hope that it will not only show you something about our ways of being, but give you tools and talking points for your own spiritual journey as well. 

What follows is an introduction to our Rule of Life. We invite you to enjoy the full PDF version here

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Our work is God’s call to us and how God plans to meet us. As we seek the shalom of the city, we find our own shalom. We need times and seasons of rest to focus solely upon Jesus, but we also remain attentive to His presence and work in us as we go about our daily lives, as we pray and work to see His kingdom come. Because of this, we commit to this Rule of Life which encourages us to a common spirituality as a movement, a common finding of God in the midst of our collective call. Our Rule of Life has both corporate and individual commitments, to help us engage our common spirituality with discernment and intentionality. We do not want to create a legalistic, perfectionistic “to do list”, but rather we choose to live into this spiritual vision with the freedom and flexibility of the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has 

anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He

has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and

recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed

free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

-Luke 4:18-19, NIV

 

Following these four streams of spirituality and by God’s grace and power, we Walk by the Spirit, we Proclaim the Gospel to the Poor, we Break the Chains of Oppression, and we Live the Jubilee Sabbath.

The corporate Rule of Life commitments we have chosen are spiritual rhythms that enable us to create space in our lives to make Jesus the center, which enables God’s transforming work in every dimension. They are:

  1. Time each day for connecting with Jesus through personal worship, prayer and scripture

  2. Weekly days of Sabbath rest

  3. One day a month for retreats of prayer to deepen our relationship with Jesus

  4. A Sabbatical year every seven years

In addition to these rhythms, we have chosen spiritual practices that prioritize relationships with people and our communal relationship with God: We will each invest deeply in a focused, intentional way in relationships by mentoring two people; and we will study the word individually, as teams, and as a movement regularly when we gather together.

To read more about the streams, as well as the commitments made by Servant Partners staff, view the full Rule of Life booklet here. A retreat guide has also been developed to help Servant Partners staff reflect on their Rule of Life commitments. An adapted version of the retreat is available to download here.

 

 

Jesus Communities

Reproducing, Transformational Communities of Jesus-Followers
A transforming urban poor community has many groups of 5-20 people who are worshipping Jesus, studying the Word, serving one another, praying, inviting others into a personal relationship with Jesus, discipling others, developing leaders, becoming change agents in their own community, and planting new communities that do the same.People are freed from the mentality that they are powerless and insignificant in the world. This reinforces the fact that all healthy transformation is inspired and sustained by God's power at work.

Sign 1 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Evangelism
• Discipleship
• Leadership development: North Africa: Health over Speed
• Multiplying churches: Around the World and Back Again

Civic Good

Increased Civic Participation for the Common Good
Civic participation means local residents are actively involved in the improvement of the community as a whole through increased volunteerism and participation in democratic processes. For example this could include participation in neighborhood groups, actions organized by those groups, volunteer activities that served children, youth, or the elderly of the community, voter registration, public safety efforts, etc. When leadership develops from within the community to serve the common good, a society emerges that can no longer be controlled by self-serving political or economic groups. Through these efforts emerging, frontline, and community wide leaders are developed.

Sign 2 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Education of government systems & civil rights
• Anti-corruption education
• Other-focused & servant leadership teaching
• Creation of Community Based Organizations
• Increasing volunteerism and studying best practices of volunteerism

Lifelong Learning

Improved Accessibility to Life-Enhancing Education
While a few urban poor communities offer some educational opportunities, even the best opportunities tend to use an approach that delivers information rather than dignifies the learner and helps him/her actually improve his/her life. A transforming community offers people affordable educational services that lend dignity to the learner, increase a person's ability to reflect on his/her life, move him/her to action and assist in career improvement.

Sign 3 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Vocational classes
• Youth Ministries – values and leadership education
• Hosting adult education
• Community Business and Education Centers
• Aiding people to access the system
• Literacy

Economic Sufficiency

Expanded Opportunities to Achieve Economic Sufficiency
Economic sufficiency in an urban poor community means that more and more people are integrated into the mainstream economy in the city which then gives them opportunity to provide a living for their families. Rather than sustaining themselves on income that is “under the radar,” the urban poor must have access to the resources (capital, training, materials, etc.) of the wider marketplace. This means not only more jobs, but more bridges to middle and upper class that create opportunities for income growth and greater productivity.

Sign 4 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Micro-credit programs
• Social enterprise
• Vocational training
• Personal financial management
• Accessing and networking with proven business experts
• Small business training and development
• Business ethics

Breakthrough to Freedom

Increased Spiritual and Psychological Health and Freedom from Destructive Patterns
A transforming community supports those who seek freedom from addictions, the occult, and other destructive patterns while they develop healthy, sustainable lifestyles that produce healthy relationships. They are freed from violence and criminal activity. People receive counseling, participate in programs, and receive prayer ministry to free them from past pain and destructive lifestyle choices.

Sign 5 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Fasting and prayer
• Accountability (12 step groups)
• Inner healing ministry
• Teaching on destructiveness of activities and access to freedom
• Intensive retreats

Whole Families

Increased Family Health and Well-Being
A transforming community helps families free themselves from domestic violence, sexual abuse, divorce, teen pregnancy, and other patters that destroy the health and unity of the family. Urban poor families are going through a major paradigm shift from traditional values developed over centuries in their villages to modern urban lifestyles embraced by their children. This produces relational breakdowns that most families do not survive. Through support/recovery groups of every kind, family social services, and youth development, families will have a opportunity to adapt to the changing world around them.

Sign 6 Video:

 

Health for All

Improved Environmental and Community Health
A transforming community works to address the physical well being of individuals, families and the larger community. Disease prevention, education and direct services that help residents reduce the spread of preventable diseases are crucial parts of an urban poor community that wants to improve the quality of life for its residents. Addressing the environmental degradation in an urban poor community is the partner of public health. Creating clean neighborhoods, green spaces, and healthy environments outside the home are essential elements of a sustainable community.

Sign 7 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Clean water projects & rain water harvesting, possibly for-profit
• Health & Environmental Education
• Starting pharmacies or clinics (vaccinations, dental)
• HIV/AIDS education
• Models of trash removal (for-profit, community based, etc.)
• Rooftop or urban gardening (for-profit, community based, etc.)

Systems That Work

Presence of Political, Economic, and Legal Systems that Work for the Poor
Most systems that govern an urban poor community are based on power that serves a few. A transforming community develops systems that serve those who are usually kept out of the decision making processes that affect their lives. Transformed political systems protect members of the community and seek to empower those who do not already have a voice. Transformed economic markets create opportunities for the poor to make a sustainable, livable wage. Transformed legal systems bring justice to those who cannot find it. Transformed social systems insure that people of all classes, cultures, and ethnicities have relational access to the power brokers of society. Reconciliation is sought between people from different groups. In this category communities will develop/identify organizational and movement leaders.

Sign 8 Video:

 

Projects related to this sign of transformation:
• Improving public education
• Advocacy
• Housing projects, available and affordable housing
•Transparency and accountability mechanisms (government, organizations…)
• Land rights
• Anti-human trafficking
• Better banking systems & access to capital
• Racism & Reconciliation
• Improving basic services and infrastructure (brick and mortar)