April/May 2016 - Vol. 85
praying before an open Bible
. Forming Disciples – Building Communities

In this issue
This issue focuses on the gift of Christian communities and the call to form radical disciples who freely choose to follow the Lord Jesus with all of their lives for the rest of their lives. We are witnessing today a new grace and movement of the Holy Spirit. Thousands of lay renewal communities flourish today and multiply because a new fire of the Holy Spirit has ignited the hearts of many young people who yearn and thirst for a community of disciples who want to follow Jesus and who want to be a source of light, love, and leaven in a world engulfed in conflict, division, anarchy, and chaos. God in his mercy is raising up new generations of young men and women to join forces with veteran disciples who have been laboring for decades in forming disciples and building communities.

Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche community, which has now spread to hundreds of communities around the world, expresses this new movement and work of the Holy Spirit in his book, Community and Growth:

Community is the place of meeting with God; it is the place of belonging; it is the place of love and acceptance; it is the place of caring; it is the place of growth in love.

Today many young people are seeking communities - not ones that are closed up and inward-looking but communities that are open to the universal, the international world; that are not limited to their own culture, that are not frightened ghettos but are open to the pain and injustices of the world. That is why so many flock to Taize or join groups that are international. That is why so many new communities feel called to found sister communities in developing countries. It is as if a community cannot continue to exist in its own culture if it is not linked to similar communities in other cultures. This arises not just from the desire to 'do good' in the Third World, but also from the discovery and acceptance of the gifts of these countries, which may be less developed econ­omically but which frequently possess a deep and true sense of humanity.

May this issue inspire you to thirst for a deeper love of Christ, and a deeper desire to follow Jesus as his disciple with all of your life for the rest of your life - until he calls you home to his everlasting kingdom.

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

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