Here, Josh Shepherd, QuadW KC Site Director shares about the development and goals of the 9 month residency opportunity that he and his wife Tricia lead...
At Mission House in Kansas City, we started out in 2013 with the idea that we are to be a little Christian community, frequently inviting young people to come learn with us for a season about following Jesus in mission. Shortly afterwards, we hosted our first QuadW Summer Internship, and began experiencing firsthand how rewarding — and challenging — this work can be. At the same time and because of our situation as a permanent Christian community in a large urban house, we knew this would be a year-round cause for us, including the internship and extending beyond it.
So we began the concept of a 9-month residential training program following the shape and purpose of the 8-week internships. Now in our 4th year, we have partnered with and are receiving all kinds of wonderful support from the QuadW Foundation, so that what was once the Mission House Residency has been re-dubbed as the QuadW Residency. This re-naming is appropriate in several ways. For one thing, it calls attention to how the purposes of the Residency mirror the purposes of the Internship. For another, it continues to honor the legacy of Willie and the Tichenor family, who have gone to such incredible lengths to ensure opportunities for young adults to learn and be formed through an extended and dedicated time of Christian missional service.
This year, we are working closely with Don Woolley to build a Residency with appropriate structure and intentionality, so that everyone is on the same page about the different expectations and roles of our Residents and long-term community members. The basic requirement of the Residency is for everyone to live together in Christian community while committing a portion of our weekly hours (15-20) to local mission. Our goal is for this local mission to always be incarnational and vocational. Incarnational means that it responds to the actual situation around us in culturally and socially appropriate ways. Vocational means that we help our Residents go beyond volunteerism to find their own true calling from the Lord, and how this calling intersects with the gifts and needs of our actual neighbors.
One of our Residents, Morgan, is working with local leaders of color and police officers to understand the unique racial challenges present in our community. Her own experience as a young Black woman raised in a rural community has prompted her to seek out a deeper understanding of racial reconciliation and to apply it to her everyday life. Another Resident, Katie, recently finished an undergraduate degree in Cross-Cultural Studies, and has begun working with a local legal aid office to learn how to support immigrants and refugees in tangible, practical ways. She recently completed a certificate program allowing her to offer limited legal advice and assistance to immigrants in need. And there are many of those in our neighborhood and community.
These are just two concrete examples of the kinds of work our Residents pursue, while we make it our business to contribute to their ongoing formation as disciples of Jesus Christ. Together as a house, we worship, pray, and do other spiritual rhythms together, as we go about the often counter-cultural challenges of living as a Christian community. It is our hope that as we seek to be a powerful witness to our neighborhood that we will also continue to have many opportunities to invite young adults into this work. For it is only in the course of missional action that we learn what is really means to be sent as missionaries to wherever we are.