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The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypocrites, and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus Paperback – October 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612612377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612612379
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“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,

from the book’s Foreword

 

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.

About the Author

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 KS. In 1984, they moved to Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston IL, where David now runs an affordable housing ministry.

 

Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are the co-authors, with Enuma Okoro, of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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31%
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David Janzen has mastered the rare art of speaking truth in love.
Alden Bass
He has served well at Reba Place fellowship, one of the most respected intentional communities in the country.
Evan B. Howard
Anyone and everyone interested or involved in Christian community needs to read it.
Ric Hudgens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Cornwall on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like many American Christians I live in a quiet suburban subdivision. Many of us go to church, worship and work with other Christians, but rarely do we share our home life with other members of the congregation. For millions of Americans this is the expected norm of Christian life, but there is a growing sense emerging within the Christian community that something important is missing. We talk about being community and being the body of Christ, but our lives don't seem to connect with this affirmation. We talk about community, but do we really live it? As Christians struggle with what it means to be a true community, we've discovered growing numbers of people are disaffected by institutional religion. They desire to find authentic community, but don't seem to be finding it in traditional Christian congregations.

What we're experiencing today isn't new. From the earliest days of the church we've struggled with the question of community. We see signs of people living in close community (Acts 2, 4), but we don't know to what extent this represented the totality of Christian life. By the fourth century, as Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire, some Christians found traditional church life to be too individualistic and unfocused, and so they gathered together in what became monastic communities. Usually, these were gender specific communities, where participants committed themselves to a life of celibacy and shared resources. Some of that reality is reemerging today, especially among evangelical Christians. A movement called New Monasticism is a key representative of this new trend toward building intentional Christian communities. But in many of these communities, it's not just single people who are gathering together, but families as well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ric Hudgens on January 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
A handbook. That's where we begin in reviewing this work. A handbook is a collection of practical instructions meant to provide a ready reference to some particular topic. In this case the topic is "intentional community" and particularly intentional Christian community. The author David Janzen defines this as "a group of people deliberately sharing life in order to follow more closely the teachings and practices of Jesus with his disciples." Ironically the audience for a book like this is smaller than for popular Christian fiction or the latest "God is doing something new in my ministry that has never been done before (or as well)!"

First of all it is a handbook derived from years of practical Christian experience. It is a work primarily aimed at those beginning their engagement with intentional Christian community. It is a work derived from those who have already been doing it -- some for only a few years and others for a few decades.

That this book is authored by "David Janzen and a community of friends" is a key to its strength. It is a work by community for community. With six parts and twenty-nine chapters spread out over 352 pages it is a weighty handbook. David (I have to use first names here since it would be ridiculous to pretend that we have not been rubbing elbows at Reba Place for over twenty years) doesn't set out to write down only his own thoughts on community but invites, welcomes, and reflects the narratives and contributions of dozens of others. The great distinctive of this book is found in these personal stories.

The Preface sets the tone and is an important introduction to the book as a whole.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clint Walker VINE VOICE on August 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I was in college, I had romantic dreams about living in intentional community. I had visited Jesus People USA for worship my freshman year, and was impressed with both the intentionality and the diversity of that community. I was also impressed with their impact-filled ministries that they owned and operated. This fantasy continued until I felt called to get theological education, and also felt the need to pay off my debt before entering into some sort of Christian communal venture.

That was twenty years ago. I am now invested in leading a traditional congregation, raising a family, and providing for those I love. However, there is still some small part of me that is drawn to the hope and possibility of sharing life and resources together with others as we unite in ministry and seek to live more simply.

In the last ten years, different models of sharing life in intentional Christian community have begun to arise, and the idea of communal living has began to make a comeback. It is with the history of the Christian communities founded in the 60s and 70s, as well as the knowledge of more contemporary models that are being formed that David Janzen shares his research and wisdom.

The book begins by allowing the reader to see the big picture of what is going on with different ways of living in intentional Christian community. Models of Christian community and cultural concerns are considered. Then, a process of discernment in engaging intentional Christian community is described. This process is both a flexible and a helpful guide to navigating such a big decision.
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