ReNew is a tool that gives churches permission to talk about change. One of the main benefits of ReNew coming from Partnership is that church leaders already have trust in the organisation. When I was looking for source material for this sort of discussion, ReNew came at just the right time. In the past I have recommended certain books and courses on totally different matters and there has always been a suspicion of the author or organisation – not so with ReNew. I could jump over that potential hurdle straight away.
The other main strength is Simon Ladd. Simon’s assuring tone, confident humility, humour and smile, made the material non-threatening and non-judgmental. As the leaders went through the course there was never a time when we felt like ‘oh, that’s too big’, or ‘too difficult for us’. We were all encouraged and given confidence to carry out the exercises suggested.
As you would expect, the course is based on sound Christian teaching and reference to the Bible.
But in an age of ‘Alpha Film Series’ and the ‘24/7 Prayer Course’, what was unexpected was the home-made quality of the video production. We are so used to the polished and slick. But perhaps surprisingly, instead of this being a problem it is a real positive of the course. In tandem with Simon’s delivery, the production was something familiar to us and our everyday experience. It all felt very Kingdom-like.
The supporting course notes, although not complete at the time we were doing the course, were helpful in providing a framework for discussion and prayer. There is also enough flexibility to allow leaders to adjust and move from that framework. We found that each session took two evenings to cover properly as well as quite a lot of work outside of the sessions.
One of the most enjoyable and useful activities carried out was the community survey. We would never have considered doing this. Not only was it a useful activity for information gathering, we really enjoyed the process of meeting with local people to intentionally listen to them.
If you are expecting ReNew to promote revolution of church life, then you need to adjust your expectations. It is a revitalisation course and sticks very clearly to that line – taking what already exists in the church and making adjustments.
We’re very grateful to Simon and anyone else involved in providing ReNew. The course has helped us as a church leadership team move forward in a structured, Bible based, mission focussed way, that we hope will be supported by our congregation.
Elder, Ottery St Mary United Reform Church
To find out more about this resource, check out our ReNew Resource Page.