My Take on Living Simply in Community

Derek Wilkerson   |   March 02, 2016

During my first half of the NBA XPLOR program, I have struggled with what this cornerstone—simple living in community—was really all about. Everything else seems straightforward, but this was left undefined, for a good reason.

When our adventure started out, we reached a covenant as a house in an attempt to have a centralized understanding of what we wanted our community to include. This living document has helped us to handle obstacles put in our way and be able to adapt to the changing surroundings. Our community has taken shape and has been a bond the three of us have been able to share.

We come from different backgrounds, but we are in this together. We are able to support each other in many ways. During the hard times, we can be there to lend a listening ear. During the good times, we can applaud the achievement at hand. Our weekly check-ins allow us to engage with each other on a personal level and share our experiences in the program. Our community is built on the trust we have for each other and our paralleled journeys with NBA XPLOR. This is how we have defined our community.

Dallas XPLOR Residents Caleb Wang, Derek Wilkerson, and Natalie ClarkDallas XPLOR Residents Caleb Wang, Derek Wilkerson, and Natalie Clark

With spending most of my life on the lower end of the economic scale, I figured simple living would not be an issue. However, after experiencing this time, I think that this takes on a stewardship piece as well. It allows us to think about the ways we spend money. The consumerism in this country has created a more-is-better culture that is dangerous to break. The way I have chosen to live simply is to challenge this cultural desire to spend money as fast as possible and instead prioritize based on necessity—and be blessed in my decisions.

I think this cornerstone is the most crucial to the overall success of this program, and I think a growing definition is key to each house understanding what it means, in their community, to live simply in community.

Derek Wilkerson is a 2015-16 NBA XPLOR Resident in Dallas, TX, a partnership with East Dallas Christian Church, Juliette Fowler Communities, and the North Texas Area of the Southwest Region. He serves at Juliette Fowler Communities

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NBA XPLOR is a 10-month service residency opportunity for young adults ages 21-30, with the purpose of empowering young adults to discern and develop a “heart for care” as they live together in simple community, engage in direct service and justice work, engage in leadership development, and discern their vocational calls to honor the various communities they are called to serve. Learn more at nbacares.org/xplor.

VIDEO: NBA XPLOR Overview 2015-16