The second in a series of posts from YAV Alumni, sharing their stories and reflections at the NEXT Conference.

From Luke:

“I entered my YAV year as someone very interested in community. In college, I was part of a few different intentional communities, I visited the Simple Way to see this idea in action, and I spent a good many of my religious studies courses tossing ideas around as to what community looks like. My YAV year taught me to throw much of that out the window. The places I felt like part of a community were rarely where I thought they’d be and what I thought they’d look like. I learned the value of allowing community to become, an organic process that cannot be organized. I learned the importance of an inclusive community, a group that does not draw lines along religion, ethnicity, or age. I developed an awareness of community that completely redrew the lines of who I thought I was.

Looking forward now, after my YAV year, I feel the call to take that community to others. Specifically, for me, I want to take that feeling to the young people. I want them to experience community in a unique and special way, a community where they feel welcome and accepted. A community that is willing to take them each as they are. I want to allow them to be a part of a church community that emphasizes presence and heart over rules and stipulations. And, I hope that I can be part of a church universal that is willing to allow itself to grow organically and surprise us all with what the fellowship of believers can look like and accomplish. “