There are two histories to Renovatus, an outer one and an inner one. If we told you the outer one, there would be names and dates and places. But the inner one just might be more interesting.
We always have to start with the name. You would be hard-pressed to find a church with a more pretentious name (or a harder to spell, for that matter) than Renovatus. It seems all the more bizarre given the Pentecostal roots of our church. Our founder is from a denomination called the Church of God, that started in the sweaty fervor of revival meetings in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Where do tent revivalists get off using Latin in their name?
We didn’t pick the name because it has a lot of syllables. We wanted a name that really said something about who we are and what we are here to do. For us, that is summed up in the idea of renovation. “Though outwardly we are wasting away,” wrote the apostle Paul, “inwardly we are being renewed (or renovated) day by day.”
We believe there is no better word than renovation for what happens when people start embodying the Kingdom of God (primary message of Jesus on earth) in a city. Renovation is what happens when people practice spiritual disciplines like prayer, worship, study and confession. Renovation is what happens when liars, dreamers and misfits have a meaningful encounter with Jesus Christ, and submit to a gradual process of real transformation. Renovation is what happens when people begin to read ancient Scriptures and start living into the stories they read. Renovation is what happens when worship becomes a way of life, and prayer a way of being in the world with God. Renovation is what happens when people demonstrate the power and justice of God by demonstrating the Kingdom in life together. A small band of us set out to live that kind of renovation: to join God in renovating ordinary lives to embody the Kingdom.
The road thus far has not been nearly as romantic as all of that. Being a church for people under renovation means we embrace the awkwardness of ordinary people (like ourselves) learning how to live a different story than the dominant one given by American culture. It is messy. But then again, there is a kind of reckless beauty to it. It is tempting to tell the story of all the ways we have tried to live out that story in the world. If you hang around with us for any amount of time, you will probably get a sense of that. But we’ve found that the most challenging and interesting work we have is to learn to be the Church.
This is not an institutional story because we are more than an institution. We believe that the Church is a living, breathing organism, the body of Christ with its own particular smells and sounds and sights. That means we are always growing, always changing. We believe that God is forming this church around the gifts and callings of the people that He sends, so things never quite stay the same. We would love for you to come and learn to be the Church with us. Like those old choose-your-own-adventure kids' books, we're pretty sure the story of Renovatus would wind up different because you were here.
Grace and Peace