Readying for XPLOR
Mark Anderson | August 14, 2014
In a few short days, the 2014-2015 NBA XPLOR Residents will gather for a weeklong orientation. The NBA staff and I have been preparing the schedules, collecting supplies, and readying for this important gathering.
These XPLOR Residents are some of the most thoughtful, engaging, and faithful young Disciples that I know. I am grateful that these twelve leaders have said “yes” to this pioneering XPLOR experience of service, learning, and discernment.
Our orientation will provide time to develop personal connections with one another as well as opportunities to learn about what this XPLOR Residency will mean for themselves and the communities they serve, now and into the future. Their preparation will include discussions on how to live in simple community with one another: how does one share living space? Who does the dishes? They will prepare budgets for shared communal living, develop schedules for their time at work sites as well as service time with their local host congregation. They will also partner with trained Disciples’ pastors on issues of anti-oppression and anti-racism. Residents will explore how their ministries and time together truly create communities of compassion and care. Engaging justice work in their communities will not only change the lives of those they encounter, but also their own.
Coming from different paths, these individuals have discerned already what this journey means for them, and we are grateful for their willingness to serve. We welcome them with open hearts and aim to equip them with necessary skills as they enter into their XPLOR experience serving with local host teams and congregations in North Hollywood (CA), Hiram-Mantua (OH), and St. Louis (MO). Each Resident will work at a host non-profit/ministry in the community in which they reside.
Rev. Dr. Suzanne Webb, member of the NBA Board of Trustees and Senior Pastor at Union Avenue Christian Church, one of the hosting congregations for this inaugural year of XPLOR, shared recently with me how this is a spirit-filled journey for all who are involved. “I pray not only for the all the Residents, including those who will reside and work with Union Avenue Christian Church, but I also hold in prayer the members of the three host teams who have been preparing for this time. For the church communities and for the wider communities who will receive and accompany these young adults, I lift them all in prayer. In St. Louis, as in many communities across this country, we have been reminded that there is still pain and brokenness. In light of the recent death of Michael Brown, a young adult himself from St. Louis, and the subsequent violence within the community, we recognize the need for intentional relationships and reconciliation in all of our local communities. May these XPLOR Residents know that they embody the faith and witness of all Disciples as they go about their work and service. Blessings on this amazing journey for all!”
We invite you to pray with and for these 2014-2015 XPLOR Residents. Below is a prayer that we shared with each Resident this week as they travel to orientation. We share it with you now. Thank you readying along with us! May God’s blessings be with each XPLOR Resident.
A Shared Prayer for XPLOR Residents
Amazing and always creating God, I do not fully know where this XPLOR adventure is going to lead me, but I do know that you have beckoned me on this journey and that you will be with me each step and every day. How grateful I am for this opportunity to stretch my mind, open my heart, walk with other committed followers of Jesus and let my spirit soar with your Spirit. Thank you! In the name of the living Christ, Amen.