Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing a series of posts aimed at preparing people for the experience of living in Christian Community and how to get the most out of this life changing opportunity! Enjoy … and share with a friend!
When you accept your offer to join the QuadW team, part of what you're agreeing to do is to live in short-term intentional community. But increasingly these days, almost none of us have any practical experience whatsoever living in any kind of community, much less one aspiring to demonstrate relationally the kind of life Jesus lived and preached.
This can be a problem.
But don't get me wrong. Inexperience itself is not the problem. In fact, one of the joys of hosting these internships is the opportunity to welcome young adults into new experiences each year. We want those experiences to be both challenging and ultimately rewarding. But how rewarding your summer becomes is largely up to you and significantly about how well you participate in Christian community with your fellow interns.
I have lived in an intentional Christian community for the past 7 years, which -- if you take away the time I've spent sleeping, out of town, or hiding -- means I've long since past the 10,000 hour mark the generally means expertise in a given field. I wish I were an expert in community, but I know less than I did when I started. The only true expertise I've gained is about how messed up I am, and that I'm not alone in this regard -- for better and worse.
So I'm not looking to make you an expert in Christian community either. It's true there are lots of good books about Christian community out there, and all the good ones eventually say the same thing which is that community is "messy". And this is one of those words that doesn't quite hit home until you are in the mess, or perhaps the cause of it. Either way, the point is the mess cannot be avoided unless you want to use another word besides "community".
If this sounds like bad news, let me make it a little bit worse. In your case, we're not simply talking about Christian community, but about short-term Christian community. And while I've read a few of those books about Christian community, I can't remember reading anything about a Christian community meant to pretty much entirely end after 8 short, fast weeks.
I think what I'm trying to say is that you've signed up for something difficult and rare, and that I'm not sure any of us knows that much about it.
So is there good news? Can we live well in and through the mess of community, even short-term community, and come out the other side with something beautiful and important and meaningful to show for it? Well, I wouldn't be writing this, much less living it out each summer, if I didn't think so. Even better, I've seen some young adults -- no better or brighter or anymore Christian than you -- pull it off quite nicely, in my inexpert opinion.
So I'd like to share a few ideas and observations about how you too can be as prepared as possible.
By Josh Shepherd, QuadW Kansas City Site Director.
Since 2011, Josh has worked as Director of Mission House, an urban mission training hub and intentional community near downtown Kansas City Kansas. Together with his wife of 9 years, Tricia, Josh has resided in Mission House alongside up to 15 young adults at a time. This has given him firsthand experience in the ins and outs of intentional Christian community, the spiritual formation of young adult Christians, and what it takes to live on mission together — especially in an urban, multi-cultural context. Fluent in Spanish, both Josh & Trish are dedicated to serving with and working alongside Hispanic congregations, connecting more deeply with their Hispanic neighbors, and advocating for a more just immigration system.
Josh & Trish just welcomed their new little girl, Sophia, into the world this last week!
You can read more about the Kansas City site and Josh HERE