Reflecting on the development of the “Rhythm of Life” journey is an exploration of a story spanning several decades with tons of influences. To use a well-known image, pebbles dropped into the pond causing ripple effects. For me (Tom) it all started when I bought a book on a booksale at Beyers Naude’s old church Aasvoëlkop NG Gemente in the early nineties. This book had a huge influence on me. The book was the “Devotional Classics” and it was published by a ministry called Renovaré and was edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith.
In the early 2000’s a group of us journeyed through an immense disillusionment with “church as business” and we started to ask questions of ourselves and the traditional churches we were raised – and ministered in. We went through an ecclesiological crisis. During this time we discovered the writings of Eugene Peterson and he had a profound influence on our lives and thinking.
In 2003 our questioning and searching morphed into the planting of a church called “Kleipot gemeente”. From 2003 till 2009 we journeyd into our questions and this quest led to the primary question, “How do we follow Jesus in our South African context?” We discovered that accepting the invitations of Jesus calls us into a life of intentionality and becoming apprentices of Jesus.
Out of this discovery we developed a “rule of life” with seven invitations. These invitations became the membership commitment of the Claypot community (we changed our language from Afrikaans to English in our quest to become more inclusive in our South African context). For four years the Claypot community exercised the “rule of life” and then in 2009 we “gave” the rule of life to a development organization called Oasis.
With Oasis’ deep commitment to social justice and their amazing diversity the “rule of life” morphed into a “rhythm of life” that reflected a deeper engagement with a spirituality that represented the diversity of God’s people. The “rhythm of life” is currently used in several communities spanning vast geographical areas in different countries and communities. Out of the work of Oasis the “Rhythm of Life” is now offered to others through the “Rhythm of Life” organization. In the partnership between Oasis and Rhythms the tension between spiritual formation and social justice is bridged. We strongly believe that we are in deep need of a spiritual formation for the sake of the world.
The “Rhythm of Life” movement consists of the different communities that have adopted, embodied and contextualized the rhythm in their communities. The Rhythm of Life movement’s website is a portal for sharing stories, encouraging one another and sharpening our skills. On this site we hope to share articles, podcasts, sermons, videos and practical ideas on how to foster missional spiritual formation for the sake of the world.