When I felt inspired and compelled to step out in faith for the umpteenth time to create community after reading the Christian Intentional Communities Handbook, for once I did not have a plan. I just made a blog–easy enough–and started posting a few things. I didn’t even have a vision. That is unusual for me. But the seed was planted. About six months later, I felt prompted by what I think is the Holy Spirit to go on a tour of my favorite Christian intentional communities as well as visit Greg Boyd’s church (and hopefully Greg Boyd).
For the first time in years, it seemed that money and time were available for me to take a month long break. Now after writing copiously for the past four days, I realized I need to write my reasons for visiting communities. And here they are:
1. Be able to tell Christian skeptics (that is, they are skeptical about the viability of intentional communities where income and lives are shared so profusely) that they are thriving, healthy and even doable.
2. Learn all I can by asking questions, experiencing community life, serving along side the community members, and attending their worship services and other programed events.
3. Document what I learn and experience by writing in my blog, recording interviews, taking pictures, making videos (if I can get the technology) of what I am doing, and doing podcasts. (pray for me please: I am not the best at the technological side of documenting things-but I can learn.)
4. Make connections, make friends and meet kindred spirits who share aspects of my vision (which I hope encompasses just about everyone’s vision) so that we can collaborate in the future. In person connections are so much more flowing and powerful than meeting on line.
5. Find people who yearn to live in the country as kind of pioneers who want to help develop community and work on the vision the I share on my blog.
6. Make the trip itself an adventure by wearing clothes that invite conversation. I will be mostly traveling by bus at this point. I envision my self wearing different bumper stickers that will attract all kinds of people–including a diverse group of Christians, atheists, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and people of different faiths. I want to interview people about how they see Christians, invite people to record their statements, write and draw in a notebook I will provide.
I also want to be service oriented and have snacks, children’s toys, and other things that might nurture people. I plan on having some kind of hand out that will inspire people to look at Jesus in a way that motivates them to learn about his basic teachings of love, including non-violence.
7. Utilize my organizing skills to lead a team to de=clutter a huge project. You can find out more here.
8. Develop spiritually. Deepen my love relationship with Jesus and learn to trust him more. Discern what my next step in developing community is. Practice more and more seeing people through God’s eyes as I meet so many new people especially as I travel. Practice listening more and talking less as I meet the people in communities. Develop a consistent prayer life moment to moment, feeling a constant awareness of Jesus by my side and in my heart. Return to my family and faith community a renewed person who is a more effective servant leader.
9. Have fun!