Perhaps you have heard about the Order of the Mustard Seed through this website, through a 24-7 Gathering, or through knowing a member of the Order. If you are interested in joining the order, we encourage you to do the following:
Firstly, contact the Order to make us aware of your interest.
Secondly, If you are interested in entering into a season of preparation for taking vows, you need to be sponsored by a current member of the Order of the Mustard Seed. If you know someone in the Order, ask them to sponsor you. Your sponsor will need to contact our office to give a recommendation on your behalf. If you do not know a member of the Order, please contact the OMS office directly and we will put you in touch with a Member of the OMS in your area, or another leader in 24-7 who can vouch for/sponsor you.
Thirdly, you can begin to read some pertinent 24-7 literature that will give you a better understanding of what being a member of the Order of the Mustard Seed is about. We recommend Punk Monk by Andy Freeman and Pete Greig, The Lord of the Ring by Phil Anderson, and The Vision and the Vow by Pete Greig.
Each year at our global or regional gathering, there will be an opportunity to begin a year of preparation leading up to taking vows at gathering the year following. In order to begin your year of preparation, you need to have contacted the OMS team and been approved by them to do so.
The time of preparation includes the following key components:
For those candidates who aren’t planning on journeying through time of preparation with a group of friends locally, we’re planning on offering optional online cohorts which will meet, probably monthly, with a facilitator who is already a member of the Order. These meetings would likely include prayer, a reflection of your practices over the last month, and biblical reflection or book discussion. Candidates are also recommended to find a companion or spiritual director to meet with for the duration of their preparation to support them through the process and to help discern your readiness to take vows with the Order.
A member of the OMS team will be touch with candidates to discuss what would be most appropriate to you and your context at the start of the time of preparation. We also want to ensure that the balance of the suggested elements of the time of preparation fit well with what is going on in your local context and adds to it, rather than becoming a burden to the activities of your local community. Members of the Order seek to bless the local church.
Pilgrimage and mission are also at the heart of what we’re encouraging with the order, and we’re asking that candidates go on a 24-7 Prayer mission team, participate in mission locally, or go on pilgrimage to a 24-7 Prayer community or another location, and then debrief their learning from said pilgrimage/mission.
Near the end of the preparation season, your OMS sponsor will discuss with you how your time of preparation has gone, and how you are feeling about your readiness to take vows. As Pete Greig, the author of Vision and the Vow has said, we’re very conscious that “you won’t be more holy if you do, less holy if you don’t!” If we are choosing to take a vow though, we want to make sure that we count the cost carefully, and prepare ourselves diligently. If at that time we discern together that you are ready to take vows, you will be able to do so at the 24-7 Gathering that fall.
Taking the vow
Each year members of 24-7 Prayer gather either regionally or globally to celebrate, worship and share stories about what God is doing through the movement. During the gatherings there is a time set aside for the OMS to come together for vow taking and the renewal of vows.
For those who have been recommended by members of the OMS to take their vows for the first time, there is a covenant consecration service which involves the taking of their solemn and generous vows to remain true to Christ, kind to people, and to take the Gospel to the nations. The service follows a set liturgy, which is made available to candidates before the gathering to aid in their preparation for making their vows. Candidates initially take the vow for a period of 5 years.
Friends of those taking their vows, particularly their ‘companions of the heart’, also known as their ‘cymbrogi’, are warmly invited to attend the service if possible, to encourage and support the candidates.
Once the vow is taken, members of the OMS are encouraged to regularly discuss their journey of adherence to their vow with their cymbrogi, and their companion or spiritual director if they have one.
We do not consider it appropriate for people who have not been recommended, or who have not undergone the period of preparation, to take vows. Persons who have not been recommended by another member of the OMS, or who have taken vows outside the 24-7 Prayer gatherings, are not considered to be members of the order.
Renewing the vow
One of the distinctive characteristics of the OMS is the regular gatherings of members of the order to renew their vows. These gatherings happen at the same time as the service for those taking the vow for the first time, and members of the order recommit to their vows during the same service.
Whilst the vow has already been made by the member of the OMS and they are therefore still bound by it, there are several advantages that members receive by publicly renewing their vows.
- Members of the order gather to discuss the joys and the challenges of living with the vow, sharing in mutual encouragement.
- The renewal process gives each member of the order an opportunity to refocus life around the commitment they have made.
- The vow renewal liturgy contains a confession for the times that each member has failed to live up to their vow. This provides an opportunity for forgiveness, mutual encouragement, and exhortation to renewed commitment to the vow that has been undertaken.
We recommend that members of the order attend a regional or global gathering at least every two years to undertake renewal of their vows.