Delving into the widespread, contemporary longing for a more serious and communal experience of Christianity, this book provides important theoretical underpinnings and casts a vision for a new monasticism within the Wesleyan tradition. Elaine Heath and Scott Kisker call for the planting of neo-monastic churches which embody the Wesleyan vision of holiness in postmodern contexts. This book also points toward some vital shifts that are necessary in theological education in order to equip pastors to lead such communities. Longing for Spring helps Wesleyans of all stripes understand the theory and praxis necessary for developing neo-monastic communities as a new model of the church that is particularly important in the postmodern context.
The authors write in an engaging, conversational style that is conversant with postmodern culture, yet thoroughly informed by critical research. Heath and Kisker boldly challenge the imagination of the church, both within and beyond Wesleyan traditions, to consider the possibility of revitalising the Church through the new monasticism.
Foreword by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
1. Our Stories
2. Early Stories of Intentional Community and Church Renewal
3. Protestant Models of Intentional Community
4. What the New Methodists Want
6. Reports from the Horizon
Appendix A: Recommended Resources for Further Study
Appendix B: Reflection Guide
Appendix C: The Role of the Anchor Church
Endorsements and Reviews
Welcome to the world of New Methodism, exciting evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the church today. New Methodism comes to us with contributions from the New Monasticism, John Wesley, Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, and an emerging generation who are leading us to a fresh appreciation of what God intends the church to be. This is a wonderful book that quickly gives the theological rationale for a reformed church and then gives practical advice on how to grow to be a new church. This is exciting!
Will Willimon, Bishop, The North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church
Longing for Spring connects United Methodism with a historical and theological approach that is very accessible, not to mention inspirational. I read it on an airplane and people around me wondered what I was reading because the authors’ writing is so delightful at times that I was laughing out loud! I can’t wait to make my first appointment of a clergy to a monastic community.
Sally Dyck, Resident Bishop of Minnesota, The United Methodist Church
Elaine and Scott are the best of guides for hungry Methodists. Their description of Wesleyan renewal is inviting. Their prescription for transformation is possible. I will be using this book in my class, our neighborhood and our congregation. What a blessing!
Amy Laura Hall, Duke University
… offers an important, radical, practically-oriented message from which contemporary Christians – especially those in the affluent West – could greatly benefit. Its purpose is simple: to rediscover the importance of the monastic tradition for contemporary communal, practical, socially activist Christian living … The work is a reminder that monasticism need not mean separation or escapism. Rather, it can be construed in forms which mean passionate commitment to others, on the basis of a firm foundation in theologically informed, intentional communal living
Clive Marsh, in Modern Believing