Order of the Mustard Seed

A dispersed community committed to prayer, mission, and justice, inspired by 18th-century Moravian principles.

Founded in 1716 by Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf and his school friends at the Halle Academy in what is now Eastern Germany, the Order of the Mustard Seed was initially envisioned as a spiritual order of knighthood. Its members dedicated themselves to serving Jesus Christ radically, upholding the principles of being true to Christ, kind to people, and spreading the Gospel to the nations. This commitment was demonstrated through a life of prayer, personal holiness, and integrity, especially in the face of opposition​​.

The order, inspired by the Moravian movement, played a significant role in the history of Christian missionary work. Its members, including Zinzendorf himself, initiated a non-stop prayer meeting in Herrnhut, Germany, that lasted over 100 years and led to the launch of the first lay missionaries and non-state-sponsored missions in modern history​​. This movement significantly impacted Europe and beyond, embodying the order’s guiding principle to act extraordinarily in God’s kingdom. Influential figures such as the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and ordinary people from various walks of life joined its ranks, driven by the same principles​​.

Today, the Order of the Mustard Seed is an ecumenical, lay-led, dispersed community of over 300 members. It aligns with the objectives of the 24-7 Prayer movement, aiming to revive the church and re-wire culture through prayer, mission, and justice. Members from diverse backgrounds, including artists, politicians, students, and stay-at-home moms, commit to a Rule of Life that fosters a deep relationship with God and faithful service to Him. This rule involves a set of principles and practices built into the rhythm of daily life, guided by the order’s foundational vows​​.

However, the order and its affiliations have been subject to scrutiny and criticism. Some view it as having a hidden, more controversial agenda, accusing it of promoting a Dominionist mindset with radical socio-political goals. Critics argue that such views, focusing on dominating social and political institutions, diverge significantly from mainstream Christian teachings, framing the order’s mission in a contentious light​​.

Despite these criticisms, the order and the wider 24-7 Prayer movement continue to focus on mobilizing individuals and communities for prayer, mission, and justice. They provide resources and ideas for personal and communal prayer, aiming to impact local areas and beyond with the message of Christ. This includes engaging in justice initiatives, volunteer work, and creative forms of prayer and ministry​​.

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