I wrote 5 reasons to live in community while you’re single about why to live in community. But sometimes the ‘why’ without the ‘how’ is anything but helpful.
Maybe you know some other great girls who desire to grow in their walks with God by living in an intentional community.
Well here’s how we did it:
Write a Purpose statement
Why do you want to live in a community? What is important to you?
Ours is: To glorify God by intentionally living in a Christ-centered community devoted to personal growth, building the body of Christ, and fulfilling the Great Commission.
Make a Covenant
Before even looking for a place to live, or really even before deciding on who we wanted to live with, Marietta and I wrote a covenant. We prayed and asked God for guidance as wrote down what things we valued.
We included things like spending time in God’s word, honoring God with our relationships, respecting each other.
The heart of our covenant is not to be a list of rules, but to be a way to be held accountable as we follow God. There is heaps of grace for us. Just like every area of our life, we fall short. When we get to experience grace from our roommates because of missing something, we get to experience the character of God.
This is foundational for our home. Before even living together we met and discussed this. This is the point of reference we go back to. We all signed it to show that we are willing to be held accountable in these ways.
Check out ours.
I think this is the single biggest key to having a successful community living situation. When you all know what to expect from each other you rarely have disappointments because of mis-communication.
Think about it, how often have you had a conflict that ended with “well I thought you were going to…”
We had a four hour meeting at Chick-fil-A (praise the Lord for sweet tea am I right?) and not only talked about the covenant (our first set of expectations) but nearly everything else.
Make sure to address things like who will be in charge of utilities, boundaries of time and space, cleaning responsibilities, food- what is shared, how you plan on distinguishing, cleaning up as you cook etc, and any other things that are important to you.
Don’t worry about thinking some detail is too small to talk about! We even talked about our preferences for the way the toilet paper hangs!
Talk about Conflict
Conflict is bound to happen (all though I believe it will be significantly less if you have clear expectations) so make sure you have a way to deal with it.
We agreed that anytime a conflict came up we would discuss it with that person first. If it didn’t get solved then we would talk as roommates, and then with a trusted staff member of our ministry.
We also agreed about consequences if we couldn’t come to agreements or if our covenant was broken.
The conflict wheel (find it here) was our mode of communication in our house. I STRONGLY recommend it!
Another key to success in our home was the fact that we were on the same mission. We all had a desire to see God glorified on our campus. We functioned as team.
I have lived with other friends when we were all in different stages of life. Though it wasn’t bad it definitely made things more challenging. It became awkward when I wanted to host a bible study or dinner and another roommate had her boyfriend over.
When you are all on the same team (whether that be serving in the same church, same ministry, or for the same purpose) there will be a more distinct purpose and less conflict.
Additionally, as you all serve the Lord together it will naturally draw you closer to each other.
We met once a week to pray for each other and to pray for things happening in our world. We would share a high and low of our weeks and how we could be praying. There were many cleansing tears shed during our prayer meetings. We stormed the gates of heaven on behalf of each other. We surrounded each other with love and grace.
We prayed for other things happening in the world- for friends that were hurting, for our friends to know Jesus, for faraway countries.
As we confidently approached the throne of God seeking mercy and grace, we found fellowship and love.
Roommate breakfasts were a regularly scheduled event in our home. We all got up early on Sunday mornings and ate together. It was very informal but so fun. We just hung out, asked questions about each others weeks, and laughed. We laughed a lot.
Why is eating together so vital? I don’t know. But Jesus did it. He broke bread with his disciples. They gathered around tables and ate. This basic human need, fulfilled in fellowship.
It helps us to connect to each other relationally, not only spiritually. My roommates not only know that I struggle to please people but that I like to put peanut butter on both sides of the bread to avoid soggy PBJ’s.
Build each other up
We had a dry erase board hanging in our living room where we wrote things we appreciated about each other. Things like “I’m grateful for how Marietta always does the dishes” or “Kristen sets a great example for younger believers” or “Elizabeth has really been trusting God with _____” or “I’m thankful for how Tina holds me accountable”
I often found sweet notes written to me by my roommates like this one:
The opposite of gossip is honoring each other. So this was how we avoided gossip in our house!
We are definitely not perfect but these things worked for us! We pray that you’ll have a wonderful God-centered community living in your house!
Angi loves Jesus, coffee, baseball and baking cakes. She is a missionary to college students and can't think of anything she'd rather do to serve God. Angi first met the Lord while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa but really understood His love and grace as a freshman in college. Her heart is to invest in college students in the same way that many others invested in her. You can find her blogging over at Stuff Angi Does where she tells stories about Jesus, college students, and life. You can also find her on facebook, twitter, pintrest and instagram.
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