This guide is our effort to explain how the Seekers Church is living out its call, and how the core members support that life. As one of the churches born out of the Church of the Saviour, the life of Seekers Church is based on an amazing belief: Each one of us is called by God to a particular area of service.
Produced by the Stewards of Seekers Church
Table of Contents
A. The Call of Seekers Church
Seekers Church is one of the small, intentional Christian communities born out of the Church of the Saviour (CoS) in 1976. Gordon and Mary Cosby, who founded Church of the Saviour in 1946, led the community through a long, positive but challenging discernment process to focus more deeply on God’s call. This process resulted in the formation of six sister faith communities from the original CoS congregation. Although the resulting faith communities incorporated separately in 1995, they are still part of CoS, members of the Ecumenical Council of Church of the Saviour and co-owners of Dayspring Farm.
Gordon Cosby spoke of call as being “seized by the power of a great affection.” We are not people who understand God’s call as a mandate to some burdensome, tiresome obligation. We live in the mystery of Christ’s teaching that while he carried the cross, his yoke was easy and his burden was light. To walk with Christ in an obedient life of service is to find rest for our souls and joy in our hearts by responding to God’s call on our lives (Matthew 11:28-30).
The life of Seekers Church is based on an amazing belief: each one of us is called by God to a particular area of service. Young or old, regardless of experience, skills or education, despite our past successes or failures, God calls each of us to a life of love and service. Concretely, it is a highly individual desire, placed by God in the heart of each person, to be about particular works in the world and in the church. People may have multiple calls and recognizing this is important to us in Seekers Church. The spiritual journey for individuals in Seekers Church grows out of a commitment to answer “Yes” to a call from God as part of this faith community.
It is in following our call that we experience the mystery of God’s presence in our community and an ever-deepening friendship with God in our inner lives. If it is truly God’s call on our lives, the river of grace flowing from God through us will bring us to peace and joy at our deepest level. We grow in our faith, find rich fellowship within Christian community, and experience new life and healing, all by following God’s call as part of this faith community.
Later in this guide you will find more detail on how our life together as a faith community supports each of us as we care for one another, engage with the needs of the world around us and deepen our solidarity with those in need. This community journey is a path of action and reflection, graced by many expressions of art and creativity.
In Seekers Church, commitment to community is understood as an important part of an intentional Christian life lived in the context of this time in history. A deeper level of commitment—to membership as a Steward—is a commitment to supporting and maintaining the church as the vessel that carries us together on our journeys of growth and service. The commitment to membership as a Steward responds to a call to nurture Seekers Church, a particular instance of Christian community, as a part of one’s inner and outer journey. Being a Steward is a commitment to maintaining a place where all who come can be welcomed, nourished and empowered to live and celebrate God’s call on their lives. The preparation needed to make the commitment as a Steward of Seekers Church is described in more detail later in the guide.
This guide is our effort to explain how Seekers Church is living out its call. In describing ourselves, we have tried to say who we are and what we do rather than who we ought to be. Material for this guide has come from many Seekers, and we thank them all. Since Seekers Church is a small part of the living Body of Christ, by the time you read this guide, we may be doing church differently, but this is how we see ourselves at this moment in time.
The life of Seekers Church is defined by our call:
Our call is to be a “Seekers community” which comes together in weekly worship rooted in the Biblical faith, with shared leadership; and disperses with a common commitment to understand and implement Christian servanthood in the structures in which we live our lives.
By “Seekers community” we mean an intentional body which sees Christ as our true life source. Koinonia with one another and genuine self-giving to the world are the ways we can be in Christ today. Seekers are not persons who have arrived, but persons who are intentionally on the way.
By shared leadership we mean empowering the gifts of women and men to help our worship flow out of and feed into the life of the community. We are committed to evoking and giving space to new gifts of preaching, liturgical leadership, creative worship forms, giving, mission and other acts of faith.
For us, Christian servanthood is based on empowering others within the normal structures of our daily lives (work; family and primary relationships; and citizenship) as well as through special structures for service and witness. We desire and welcome participation in Seekers Church of women and men of every race and sexual orientation. In Seekers Church we will equip and support each other in all of these areas and seek a balance among them.
The Seekers Church community sees itself called into Christ’s ministry of deliverance from bondage to freedom in every personal and corporate expression. We recognize the value of each individual and seek to heal any wounds of discrimination inflicted by our society and church.
Seekers Church is committed to participation by persons of all ages. We see children, youth and adults of all ages as valuable and valued parts of our community, and desire their inclusion in our care, our ministry, and our life together.
Issued by Seekers Church Founding Members in July 1976
Revised by Seekers Core Members in November 1989
Revised by Seekers Core Members in May 1991
In 1976, when we were thinking through what it meant for us to be a separate and distinct part of the Church of the Saviour (CoS) , Robert Greenleaf was writing his book, Servant Leadership. In that book, he wrote about the connections between prophecy and servant leadership:
I now embrace the theory of prophecy which holds that prophetic voices of great clarity, and with a quality of insight equal to that of any age, are speaking cogently all of the time. Men and women of a stature equal to the greatest of the past are with us now, addressing the problems of the day, and pointing t
o a better way … to live fully and serenely in these times. The variable that marks some periods as barren and some as rich in prophetic vision is in the interest, the level of seeking, the responsiveness of the hearers. The variable is not in the presence or absence or the relative quality and force of the prophetic voices. Prophets grow in stature as people respond to their message. If their early attempts are ignored or spurned, their talent may wither away. It is seekers, then, who make prophets, and the initiative of any one of us in searching for and responding to the voice of contemporary prophets may mark the turning point in their growth and service.
Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership, page 22
This passage spoke deeply to Fred Taylor and Sonya Dyer, our founding members. They decided we should name our church “Seekers” because we are a people who are intentionally on the way and committed to bringing forth prophetic leadership from the gathered community.
We are committed to structuring our worship and mission life to support those seeking response to the voices of prophets of our time. We want to help make the Realm of God alive and visible in the ways we treat each other, even in the midst of competing priorities or disagreements.
There are times when we succumb to the tendency to marginalize the prophets in our midst because we don’t like their messages or prophetic actions, and we recognize that it is easier to hear prophetic words about the wider world than it is to be welcoming of challenges within our community. As a family of faith, we want to be welcoming and inclusive as we work for peace and justice, and we hope to encourage each other to listen for the deeper truth. Our Eyes to See, Ears to Hear Peace Prayer Mission Group helps keep us conscious of this commitment.