Cimabu, Icon of St Francis of Assisi,
St Francis lived at a time when the Church and society were facing similar tensions to today. Following Christ's call to "rebuild the Church," walked a delicate tightrope, holding the old and the new with care and reverence. Francis restored faith in clergy; led people to love the Eucharist, the Scriptures, and to return to the practice of penance.
He did this by preaching and teaching in radically creative ways. His approach to witnessing the Gospel was engaging, relate-able and accessible, without ever attempting to replace the Apostolic traditions of the Church. And here's the rub.
Our approach to renewal is Franciscan in the sense that it reflects three key commitments of the early Franciscans, which Francis drew from the vita apostolica (the way of life adopted by Jesus and the first Apostles).
First, it is itinerant (it goes from town to town). This means that we meet with people in their natural environment and minister to them in their cultural language.
Second, it seeks healing and transformation, which means we speak and live the Gospel in ways that are responsive to the needs, pain points and God-given dreams of the people we serve.
Thirdly, it's poor, which means the best things in life are free. The main resources we draw from are God's Spirit, His Word and each other. We use simple, minimalist, creative and playful resources to communicate. We keep it raw and humble.