“This is a book that we've needed for a long, long time . . . . This is a book for people who long for community and for people who've found it; for young seekers and for old radicals. Like a farmer's almanac or a good cookbook, it's a guide that doesn't tell you what to do, but rather gives you the resources you need to find your way together with friends in the place where you are. We couldn't be more grateful to have a book like this. And we couldn't be happier to share it with you.” —Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
In the 21st century, a new generation of Spirit-energized people are searching for a new—yet ancient—way of life together. David Janzen, a friend of the New Monasticism movement with four decades of personal communal experience, has visited scores of communities, both old and new. The Intentional Christian Community Handbook shares his wisdom, as well as the experience of intentional Christian communities across North America over the last half century.
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Janzen’s book is rightly titled as a handbook. It’s a reference guide for showing us how (to) nurture and grow intentional Christian community...I’m not sure that I’m ready to pack everything up, and move to a large piece of farmland with a bunch of other people who are committing to live, work, and worship together. But I am gleaning some incredible wisdom about how I can develop a stronger sense of Christian community right where I’m at. Janzen has me thinking long and hard about what it means to do life together with other Christians.
Divided into six sections, Janzen takes us from the current desire for community, setting this yearning in context, to picturing what mature Christian community looks like. In between he helps readers discern whether intentional community is their calling, what they should know before moving in together, describes what the first year of community life looks like, and lays out the tasks that a young community might take up...Janzen combines narrative, biblical teaching, admonition, and storytelling. He shares his experiences and invites participants in community to share their own stories of both the blessings and the difficulties encountered...If you’re interested in intentional Christian community, this is an essential book. If you’re wondering what this ‘thing’ is, you might want to pick up the book and read some of the more descriptive sections...Of course, if you’re engaged in intentional Christian community life – I’d say that this is an essential bit of reading.
David Janzen graduated from Bethel College and studied at Harvard Divinity School. In 1971, he and his wife helped found New Creation Fellowship, a Christian intentional community in Newton, Kansas. In 1984, they moved to Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston, Illinois, where David now runs an affordable housing ministry and visits other communities in the Nurturing Communities Project.
Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are the co-authors, with Enuma Okoro, of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.