NBA XPLOR Young Adult Residency Program

NBA supports a prophetic movement of young adults exploring the connection between a life of faith and the work of justice.

In 2014, we launched NBA XPLOR, a ten-month residency year for young adults ages 21-30  to live in a new community, learn about their faith, and make decisions about how they will construct meaningful, impactful lives.

Through NBA XPLOR, we partner young adults with Disciples congregations, regional and general ministries, and wider communities—building impactful learning contexts, broad communities of service, and transformational conversations and relationships. After considerable discernment, the National Benevolent Association (NBA) has made the difficult decision to place NBA XPLOR on hiatus for the 2020-21 program year. Read the full announcement here

While on hiatus from residential programming in 2020-21, NBA XPLOR is developing new models for connecting with and supporting diverse communities of young adults. XPLOR is researching and developing a semi-virtual intentional community model which we hope to launch in 2021. Stay tuned!

Four Cornerstones of NBA XPLOR

Community Engagement and Justice Work

Have you been wondering how to make a greater impact for good? 
Connect the life of faith to the work of justice in your day-to-day life.

Spiritual Deepening and Vocational Discernment

What is it that God and your heart are calling you to do? 
Say yes to new ways of living into God’s dreams for your life.

Leadership Development

What do you need to know to do what you need to do? 
Claim and hone your strengths for personal, spiritual, and professional leadership.

Simple Living in Intentional Community

How do I learn to live with what I need, not with all that I want? 
How does living in community shape my answers and my practice?
Experience sharing resources and making decisions in a household community of faith.

NBA XPLOR is fully committed to a solid foundation of anti-racism and anti-oppression work. The XPLOR Cornerstones help Residents and host teams to engage practices of full inclusion and to celebrate diversity.

NBA XPLOR is deeply rooted in the mission of the National Benevolent AssociationFollowing God’s call, the National Benevolent Association exists to inspire and connect the people and ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), to accompany one another in the creation of communities of compassion and care, and to advocate for the well-being of humanity. We also claim our mission through a deep connection to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) identity statement: We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.


Meet the NBA XPLOR Team

Rev. Rae Karim


Virzola Law

Rev. Virzola Law

NBA XPLOR Mission Specialist


XPLOR Resident Vlogs

Learn about XPLOR from the voices of the Residents themselves! Watch this playlist of Resident vlogs from a recent cohort. You can even check out more Resident videos on the NBAcares YouTube Channel.

Get to Know the XPLOR Residents

XPLOR Residents 2019-20

Meet the Residents

XPLOR Residents 2018-19

Meet the Residents

XPLOR Residents 2017-18

Meet the Residents

XPLOR Residents 2016-17

Meet the Residents

XPLOR Residents 2015-16

Meet the Residents

XPLOR Residents 2014-15

Meet the Residents

Stories from Our Residents

NBA Welcomes the first Full-Time Senior Justice Coordinator with Plans to Expand Social Justice Work

We are excited to announce the newest member of our staff and the justice work they'll be involved in.

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Warm Up with This Green Chile Stew Recipe

It’s soup season! Warm up with this green chile stew recipe from Dr. Chad Vickers.

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Holiday Blessings to All

Mental Health Equity Cohort Member Rev. RJ Robles shares a poem of holiday blessings.

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Grief During the Holidays

As the busy holiday season presses on, Carolina Fuentes, a member of our Mental Health Equity Cohort shares tips for navigating and making space for grief during the busy holiday season.

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Introducing NBA’s Mental Health Equity Cohort’s Holiday Series

Each year, we offer a mental health and wellness holiday resources to encourage you to prioritize holistic wellness during the wintertime and the holidays. This year, our round up of holiday wellness resources is brought to you by NBA’s Mental Health Equity Cohort.

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NBA Grants More Than $170,000 to Fall 2023 Mission & Ministry Grantees

We are pleased to announce our Fall 2023 Mission & Ministry Grant recipients!

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NBA Board Meets and Affirms Bold Visions and Ministries

The Board of Trustees of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) met November 9 – 11 at Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Connection & Care: A Recap of NBA’s Mental Health Professionals Conference

NBA’s Mental Health & Wellness program brought together therapists from across the country for our first in person conference exclusively designed for mental health professionals.

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A Space to Belong: Mission & Ministry Grant Supports Community Center for Trans & Gender-Diverse Community

In 2022, Galileo Christian Church established Finn’s Place, a community center where trans and gender-diverse people gather, grow, and flourish.

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Camp Sunflower Provides a Place for LGBTQ+ Youth to Soar

Recently, Social Entrepreneur Program Coordinator Rev. Ashley Mayham and NBA trustee Wanda Scott visited Camp Sunflower in Wichita, Kansas to observe how the ministry has grown since they first engaged with NBA in 2019.

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NBA at General Assembly: A Recap of our Week in Louisville

Miss us at this summer’s CCDOC General Assembly? We’re sharing the highlights!

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NBA Welcomes Two Social Entrepreneur Cohort Members as Incubate Partners

We are excited to introduce our two new Incubate Partners joining us this year.

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Announcing the Spring 2023 Mission & Ministry Grantees

Meet our newest group of Mission & Ministry Grantees.

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Introducing NBA’s New Young Adult Leadership Development Program Area

We are thrilled to share an update to our work with young adults!

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Meet NBA’s New Director of Young Adult Leadership Development

We’re so excited for what’s next in our young adult program and proud to introduce Dr. Tene Davis, NBA’s new Director of Young Adult Leadership Development.

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NBA Welcomes Four New Trustees and Celebrates the Leadership of Outgoing Members in St. Louis

NBA's Board of Trustees gather in St. Louis for it's biannual in person meeting.

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Creating Their Destiny: Mission & Ministry Grantee Teaches Young Black Girls Life Skills

Mission & Ministry grantee uses funds to support and encourage young Black women.

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NBA Welcomes New Health and Social Service Partner Program Coordinator

We’re excited to introduce Jerell DeCaille, NBA’s Health and Social Service Partner Program Coordinator!

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Trauma-Informed Church Offers Ministry Like Jesus Would

This east side Indianapolis congregation is leading with love and on a mission to be in ministry that mimics Jesus’ time on Earth.

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A Place to Belong: Indiana Congregation Creates Community Events for Older Adults

When Countryside Christian Church realized the older adults in their congregation were feeling particularly isolated, they turned to NBA for support.

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How One Congregation Created a Network of Compassionate Older Adults

In 2020, Beloved Christian Church began its Compassion Practice+ program, which teaches the Compassion Practice (CP) to adults over 50.

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Lonely But Not Alone: How Older Adult Ministries of Mid-America is Addressing Isolation

The Older Adult Ministries of Mid-America held a day-long seminar with seniors in Missouri to brainstorm how to address feelings of isolation.

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Unleashing the Potential of Careers in STEM for St. Louis Youth

The STEM field is notoriously homogenous. To combat this, Mission & Ministry Grantee Unleashing Potential developed Experience STEM.

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Mission & Ministry Grant Supports Those in Addiction Recovery

The wake up call that lead to a ministry that supports those recovering from addition.

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First Christian Church Texas City Invites a Blue Theology Mission Station to Engage Children

First Christian Church in Texas City, Texas used their Mission & Ministry grant to partner with Blue Theology to teach youth in the Galveston Bay area the importance of ‘being blue’ and taking care of the ocean and natural water sources in their community.

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Meet the 2023 Social Entrepreneur Cohort

Meet our third group of individuals and the ministries they’re building.

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Where Are They Now: NBA XPLOR Resident Lauren Frato

Seven years ago, Lauren Frato embarked on a 10-month experience with NBA that served at the catalyst for her career.

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Announcing the Fall 2022 Mission & Ministry Grantees

Meet our newest group of Mission & Ministry Grantees. These ministries represent 22 different Disciples regions and will serve a multitude of generations in topics of mental health, entrepreneurship, and creative endeavors.

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NBA XPLOR: A Retrospective

Since NBA began it's work with young adults in the 1990s, our work with young adults has grown in many ways. NBA XPLOR co-founder Rev. Ben Bohren shares his take on how it all came to be.

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NBA Board of Trustees Fall 2022 Meeting Centered on Partnerships

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Additional Details About NBA XPLOR