My new friend Dan Steigerwald, who is with Christian Associates here in the Portland area, has led me into the world of "missional orders". As best as I can tell these are new communities that develop monastic practices for engagement with the world. One of the new orders he has introduced me to is the Northumbria Community. Buried in their website under "Who We Are" is a description of their "Rule". I reprint it here for your ease.
Summary of the Rule of the Northumbria Community - A Way for Living
This is the Rule we embrace. This is the Rule we will keep: we say YES to AVAILABILITY; we say YES to VULNERABILITY.
We are called to be AVAILABLE to God and to others:
Firstly to be available to God in the cell of our own heart when we can be turned towards Him, and seek His face;
then to be available to others in a call to exercise hospitality, recognising that in welcoming others we honour and welcome the Christ Himself;
then to be available to others through participation in His care and concern for them, by praying and interceding for their situations in the power of the Holy Spirit;
then to be available for participation in mission of various kinds according to the calling and initiatives of the Spirit.
We are called to intentional, deliberate VULNERABILITY:
We embrace the vulnerability of being teachable expressed in:
a discipline of prayer;
in exposure to Scripture;
a willingness to be accountable to others in ordering our ways and our heart in order to effect change.
We embrace the responsibility of taking the heretical imperative:
by speaking out when necessary or asking awkward questions that will often upset the status quo;
by making relationships the priority, and not reputation.
We embrace the challenge to live as church without walls, living openly amongst unbelievers and other believers in a way that the life of God in ours can be seen, challenged or questioned. This will involve us building friendships outside our Christian ghettos or club-mentality, not with ulterior evangelistic motives, but because we genuinely care.
I believe these two characteristics of availability and vulnerability can be the cornerstone for character of any new church community. They are here for your consideration.