Over the last few days I’ve had several conversations which have ended up leading to a discussion of my vision for my future ministry and where I see my call leading. It has been helpful in the sense that it has made me push in again and discover what God is saying. However, as it many times is for me, the vision that I sense God is calling me to is overwhelming. Mainly it is overwhelming because I don’t know where to begin.
The vision itself is to start an Abbey church. For the time being this is the best description I can come up with. The vision is not to start a new monastic community, but a church which is formed by the monastic life. The community itself would take on a rule of life, commit to certain vows, daily prayer, etc. Those that can would join in on-site, particularly in the daily office.
Most of those who are currently attempting to form an ‘Abbey church’ are along the neo-monastic lines. I believe that they are meeting people where they are. However, most I have heard of or read about seem to have the perennial problem inherent with post-Modernity, that is, a strong sense of personal autonomy, which leads to an avoidance of things such as vows; particularly the vow of obedience.
In many ways, I don’t even know where to begin. But the encouragement is something a friend of mine said to me, “God does not desire an ‘Ishmael’ ministry for any of us, but rather he desires an ‘Isaac’ one.”
Where to go from here? God only knows….