There are many ways people can get involved in the "Red Letter" Movement. Below are a few ways that you might find helpful in your "red letter" journey with Jesus. There are so many options. Just scroll down and read about some of these options are and then, most importantly, do them!
We are seeking Christians who have a boiling passion to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus who are not satisfied with their current walk with Christ and feel there is so much more. We are looking for Christians who humbly acknowledge their need for Jesus and realize that "apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing" - John 15:5. We want to gather together broken Christians who desperately want more of Jesus and less of themselves, Christians that seek to be filled with Christ so they can live out the "red letters" - Jesus' teachings highlighted in red in certain versions of the Bible.
If this sounds like you then we ask that you consider joining our "Red Letter Christian" movement. It will take commitment to be part of this group but it will be worth it.
The commitment involved is as follows:
1. We will gather together as a group on a quarterly basis for full day training.
2. We will do reading assignments, etc throughout the year.
3. We will commit to 3 - 6 hours of weekly mission specifically focussed on the poor and oppressed through serving in inner - city churches, prison ministries, shelters, etc.
4. We will take time out in our busy schedules for prayer and reflection. (We recommend the "Renovare Life With God Bible" (NSRV) and "Common Prayer - A Liturgy For Ordinary
Radicals" as helpful tools for your prayer times)
5. We will gather together for other things like prayer / worship times, etc.
We do not believe that we have all the answers in fact this is why we seek to gather together as a group of Jesus seekers because we believe that He alone has the answers. By being together we believe we can learn so much from Jesus as He works through us.
If you are interested in being part of a "Red Letter" group and have questions please fill in the form in the "CONTACT" section of this website. We will respond to you ASAP. If you want to join a "Red Letter" group please fill in the form on this page and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will respond to your email ASAP.
The Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) has partnered with Connect Ministries (www.connectministries.org - an affiliate organization of Dr. Tony Campolo) to provide a special leadership development program for young leaders. We want you to be part of this "Red Letter" movement and we desire to come alongside you to encourage, equip and empower you to do mission your way with your gifts and talents. Our prayer is that God will use us in creating a movement of young missionally minded MCEC adults who are sent to serve Jesus among the poor and oppressed locally, nationally and globally.
We value our young adults and respect the vital leadership role you have to play in our world today and we want to provide a life giving avenue to support your efforts by fulfilling the following steps:
STEP 1 - Listening Circles
We will host listening circles with young MCEC adults so we can discern together what the Spirit is up to in this generation of young leaders. Our hope is that through these times of spiritual discernment we will be able to develop a "Red Letter Movement" by and for young adults that will strengthen their leadership presence and activity.
STEP 2 - Call To Action
We will call MCEC young adults to be part of a "Red Letter Movement" of young leaders who take the words of Jesus seriously. This calling will take place in three ways:
STEP 3 - Cohort Training
All MCEC young adults who have accepted the calling to be part of the "Red Letter Movement" will join together as a cohort to grow together in their relationship with Jesus and one another while being trained and equipped to be "Red Letter Christians". The cohort will gather quarterly for full day gatherings of challenging training, prayer, spiritual formation and action.
STEP 4 - Missional Participation
A key component of our training is active participation in mission. We are firm believers in the "praxis" model of life transformation. In light of this we want our MCEC cohort involved in missional activity. We will provide opportunities for our people to get involved in current ministries that serve the poor and oppressed. We will also support our people in any missional action that they feel led to create.
Connect Leadership Ministries is a missional movment dedicated to working with struggling urban churches or planting churches in high - risk communities through young adults. We are always looking for young adults to join one of our Missional Communities active in "at - risk" neighbourhoods to serve the poor and oppressed. We are also seeking out emerging leaders to intern with us leading missional communities while receiveing ministry training and leadership development. To learn more about Connect Leadership Ministries go to www.connectministries.org. Applications can be downloaded from that site.
1. COMMIT TO A REGULAR GATHERING AS A "RED LETTER" GROUP
Jesus said; "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20). Getting together as "Red Letter Christians" opens up the door for a deep encounter with the living Christ! With this "red letter" Scripture in mind the prayer of "Red Letter Christians" is to see a movement of Christians get serious with the "red letters" of Jesus and commit to gathering together in groups throughout the world.
In Colin McCartney's book; "Red Letter Revolution" (see Resources section of this website) there is a simple method in which a "red letter" group can get started. McCartney uses the word RED as a foundational starting point for the creation of any "Red Letter" gathering. The word RED symbolizes three things that people must commit to if they are to be a useful part of any "red letter" group. So, if you are looking at starting such a group you need to look for Christians who fulfill what RED stands for. You are looking for people who:
R - Realize the revolution Jesus started and that he is calling them to be "red letter" revolutionaries.
E - Engage in the Holy Spirit through the use of spiritual disciplines so that the thoughts, words and actions of "Red Letter Christians" are Spirit induced.
D - Do the Spirit - filled works of Jesus in a world that desperately needs Christ.
McCartney goes further in describing how to organize "red letter" gatherings for those who are committed to the "red Letter" principles above. These following ideas are very useful in helping you organize your own "red letter" group.
A. Make sure every participant fully embraces the RED acronym.
They must be Christians who:
a) Realize the revolutionary repercussions of what Jesus inaugurated here on earth and their responsibility to follow him in doing his works in their world today.
b) Engage in spiritual disciplines so that they are filled with the Spirit of Christ.
c) Are willing to Do what Jesus tells them to do individually and as a group as part of his revolutionary mission.
B. Start off each gathering with a great meal.
There is something special about gathering around a dinner table over a wonderful meal. Food seems to produce a special bond among the participants as a form of deeper community is developed through food and drink. The early church understood the power of eating together and this is why they used to gather in homes where they would celebrate the "Lord's Supper" (what some Christians today call the "Eucharist" or "Holy Communion") by having what they called a "Love Feast". These early "Red Letter Christians" would start off their meal with bread and wine and hold a solemn time of remembrance of what Christ has done for them through his death on the cross. However, after this portion of worship was finished they would continue with a great celebratory feast rejoicing in the resurrection of Christ and his ongoing presence in their lives. Laughter, praise, encouragement were all parts of this "Love Feast".
"Red Letter" gatherings work best when they begin with a wonderful "Love Feast".
C. Continue worship through singing, prayer and the study of a Gospel story.
After the meal some "Red Letter" groups like to continue the worship through music, open prayer and sharing and a study of a gospel story. Other "Red Letter" groups prefer a time of silence, rote prayer and a "lectio divina' time of listening and sharing of the Gospel story. Other groups prefer to mix things up by incorporating various elements of the above mentioned preferences while other groups do all of their worship, prayer and teaching time during the "Love Feast".
The bottom line is that whatever style you prefer doesn't matter as long as your group is spending time in worship, prayer and the Gospel. The key element in all of this is that the group must have a desire to listen to what Jesus is telling them to do. This is why it is important that before a session ends the question must be asked - Is Jesus telling us anything that we must do as a group of "Red Letter Christians"? If there is a consensus that it appears Jesus is telling your group to do some "red letter" act then it is important to discuss what it is that your group must do and take up a plan of action. If there is no clear consensus or agreement that Jesus is calling the group to a specific form of "red letter" group action then end off the meeting. Always remember that if there was no clear consensus it doesn't mean that Jesus didn't speak. He might have spoken to some individuals at the gathering or perhap's he is building up on a future "red letter" challenge for your group to under take? Just let Jesus lead your group and wait on him in all you do.
D. Close the gathering by confirming a time and place for when the next get together will take place.
2. ADD A MONASTIC COMMITMENT TO YOUR "RED LETTER" GROUP
START OUT WITH A RHYTHM
For centuries monastic communities held to certain rhythms to help them succeed in their commitment to following of Jesus. "Red Letter Christians" understand the need for having a rhythm to embolden them in their journey of following Jesus and his "red letters". The rhythm that this website encourages comes from the acronym "BLESSED". Each letter in "BLESSED" represents a specific commitment that "Red Letter Christians" make on a regular basis. Let's take a look at each of these commitments:
B - Bible - "Red Letter Christians" believe that the Bible is God's Word and they are committed to knowing the Holy Scriptures by participating in regular Bible study on their own as well as in groups. Jesus often quoted Scripture with his understanding that it was the Word of God. Throughout the Gospels we read Jesus say; "It is written..." His commitment to knowing the Scriptures as God's Word is seen when he said; "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Mathew 4:4). In Jesus mind "It is written..." and "the mouth of God" are interconnected and are the same thing - the Holy Scriptures to Jesus is the Word of God and as he knew the Word so too must "Red Letter Christians".
L - Listen - "Red Letter Christians" believe that Jesus speaks to us today. Jesus said; "When he (Jesus) has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice... I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:4,5, 14 - 16). Because Jesus speaks to his sheep "Red Letter Christians" are committed to spending regular times in contemplative solitude so they can hear the voice of Jesus speak to them.
E - Encourage / Eat - "Red Letter Christians" need to encourage each other to keep on following Jesus and his "red letters". Jesus constantly encouraged his disciples as well as others and often his words of encouragement took place around a meal. The early Church followed Jesus' example by participating in fellowship with one another regularly for a meal (preferably for communion together of the Lord's Supper) and time of worship, prayer and sharing. Remember, Jesus said; "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20) There is something about a good meal with good friends that brings out the best in all of us and when we use this time for prayer and sharing we can experience Jesus' divine presence with us just as he was with those he ate with.
S - Serve the poor - Jesus' mission statement is seen in his words from Luke 4:18,19; "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." The poor, prisoners, blind and oppressed were all people who suffered injustice and lived in poverty. They were also the people Jesus served and hung out with the most throughout his ministry. Jesus was committed to serving the poor and "Red Letter Christians" are dedicated to the same mission that Jesus exemplified. "Red Letter Christians" understand that the same Spirit that anointed Jesus to serve the poor and oppressed has also anointed them since the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer.
S - Sent - "Red Letter Christians" see themselves as "sent ones" from God on a mission for the Kingdom. Jesus said; "As you (God) sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18) Jesus declares that his followers are to minister just like he did. All throughout the Gospels Jesus refers to himself as sent from God. Jesus understood he had a divine calling to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. "Red Letter Christians" have joined their saviour in performing his kingdom works as well.
* We have attractive "Red Letter Christians" rubber wristbands available. If interested in ordering a wristband please see the "Resources" section for order information.
Jesus said; "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24). These words of Jesus have much to say to those of us who live in a very consumerist culture. Jesus very clearly tells us that the "god" of materialism is very active trying to shape who we are in its attempt to have us serve it instead of Jesus. What is the solution to this powerful consumerist cultural malaise we all find ourselves in? The answer is simple - give to the kingdom of God and, as Jesus proved through his words and action, to give to the kingdom means to give specifically to the poor and oppressed. This giving is not just through financial help (thought this is very important) but also through our time and talents. This is why Jesus also said; "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19 - 21) In light of our consumerist reality and Jesus words concerning how it can be dealt with, it is very important that those of us who deem to be "Red Letter Christians" must take combat materialism by serving the poor and oppressed. In so doing we will quickly gain the right perspective concerning the pressures our culture has on us and we will be able to serve God alone.
By giving money regularly to a "red letter" oriented ministry or charity you will take an active role in both combating society's narcissistic influence on you and, at the same time, do the works of Jesus through supporting a ministry that shares the good news of Jesus while working with the poor and oppressed.
So, do your research, find out what ministries are really making a difference and most importantly - get involved.