Building and Flying

Rev. Bonnie Osei-Frimpong   |   April 03, 2014

The NBA XPLOR Project has been in development for over a year. The XPLOR Team has consulted with 17 similar residency programs, accessed their best practices and made valuable additions that provide this residency with a uniquely Disciples ethos. A diverse team of pastors, lay people, and young adults conducted interviews with a dynamic group of young adult candidates. And now, as Residents begin to accept their site placements and continue preparation discussions with local, social service sites, there is a feeling that we are now officially launching and inaugurating this exciting ministry complete with Residents, congregational teams, service sites, and many ministry partners. Sometimes it feels as though we are building this plane even as we fly it!

As project coordinator, what has surprised me is the faithfulness and integrity of the applicants—not only in their applications and interviews, but especially in their lives. XPLOR applicants value diversity, understand issues of privilege and oppression, and are committed to developing hearts for care and service. One applicant explained the attraction to this service program, “I really like the way the program phrases it, to discern the purpose for which one’s soul is made. I want to give this intentional attention, in community. It is something I really need to work on, to figure out what is important.”

In this inaugural year of XPLOR, my hope for residents is that they can cultivate and confirm vocational habits—spiritually and professionally—that will equip them to sustain the work of service wherever their vocation calls them. This means, among other things, keeping a Sabbath time, developing mutually transformative relationships within a community, and living simply and intentionally amidst a culture of consumption.
The young adults and host congregations have begun a faithful and exciting exploration. The residential houses will be a mixture of church camp fun, dorm room camaraderie, and family dinner fellowship. The challenges that arise will result in deep personal growth. Host congregations in Hiram-Mantua (Ohio), St. Louis (Missouri), and North Hollywood (California), will be invigorated and enriched by the relationships formed between residents and people in every aspect of church life. Work sites will receive diligent and dedicated workers who strive to better understand and dismantle systemic injustice.

As we build the plane and fly it, we are grateful to explore what the future holds for the residents, host congregations, work sites, and the larger church.

Interested in learning more about NBA XPLOR? Contact us: Rev. Rebecca Hale, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at rhale@nbacares.org or Rev. Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, XPLOR Project Coordinator at boseifrimpong@nbacares.org. More information can also be found at www.nbacares.org/xplor.


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Safe Haven is a drop-in program serving the homeless and low-income families in the Baileys Crossroads Community of Falls Church, VA.