The SoulSpace/Soul Food Internship is a 9-month, part-time study of New Monasticism and Placemaking, particularly the practices, postures, values and vision associated with it. The Internship program draws primarily from the ‘Rule of Life’ for 24-7 Prayer International’s ‘Boiler Rooms,’ as described by Andy Freeman in Punk Monk (Baker, 2007), and explores the practices of this ‘Rule.’
Underlying Values of the Internship
Four core values give shape to the Internship: learning, contemplation, reflection, and action.
- Learning: Reading the assigned books; reading one another’s online posts; hearing about others’ assignment experiences and projects.
- Contemplation: Spending time in God’s presence; pursuing intimacy with Him; weekly prayer.
- Reflection: Posting thoughts and responses online; deliberate participation in spiritual direction, spiritual formation, and Internship retreat.
- Action: Completing monthly experiments and spending time in two placemaking settings.
In addition, other values are at play as well. For instance, the value of encouraging community, which forms throughout the whole experience, especially during the monthly dinners and retreat. We find that community also combines with the core value of learning, creating a specific learning cohort as the Internship’s structure, facilitation and small-group dynamics support its overall focus. We value making space for people to encounter God — allowing them to ask questions such as, ‘What do you want me to do?’ and ‘Who do you want me to be?’ — and then helping to awaken them to the possibilities that we see God placing before them. We also see great value in co-labouring: connecting people and groups in work that benefits our souls and our communities.
Purpose of the Internship
The Internship’s purpose is to equip disciples of Jesus to live with loving, prayerful, missional intention in their neighbourhood. We seek to identify what God is doing in our neighbourhood and who is being drawn by these values and to these practices, and to resource them in meaningful ways.
We see the rise in interest and growth in numbers of what we call ‘Intentional Christian Communities’ across the world. We also see a deepening awareness that prayer is important to the work of the King and His kingdom. We see evidence of this among many more young believers (most of whom are in their 20s and 30s), both in the growth of prayer-focused groups and the increase in day-and-night prayer occurring individually and collectively.
We recognise, too, that there is a justice-oriented movement developing in the Church, in Adelaide and around the world, and that many believers are seeking guidance in how to participate in this. There is also a gap between what the church can provide these believers and what seminary education can provide. Many churches are not equipped nor prepared to provide the guidance or training these emerging leaders are seeking, nor is Bible College necessarily the best setting or environment for the kind of learning required here. With this in mind, the Internship’s goal is to affirm these emerging leaders and to help them gain the knowledge, and skills, support, and mentoring they desire. The Internship seeks, then, to provide ‘on the ground’ training that coaches the values above, in a holistic manner. In doing so we are not seeking to build an on organization but to fuel a movement.
Cost of the Internship
The cost of the Internship is $500 which will need to be paid up front (monthly payments available). A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to secure a place in the program. This will be applied toward the program when it begins. Interns will also need to purchase the nominated book for each month.
Components of the Internship: Overview
- Book Studies: Interns read one assigned book during each of the ten months of the Internship.
- Practical Exercises: Arising out of what interns learn from our reading each month.
- Dinner Conversations: A potluck dinner each month.
- Weekly Reflections: Interns share personal reflections from their reading, once a wee using email.
- Prayer: One hour a week, in addition to personal, regular ‘devotions.’ A prayer ‘tool kit’ of various ways of praying is also developed, month by month.
- Placement: during the internship there are 6 placements required (3 at Soul Food Café and 3 with SoulSpace/Random Acts of Coffee). This is negotiated along the way.
- Spiritual Direction: Each intern meets regularly with a Spiritual Director.
Retreats: There is a one-day Retreat in September
Book Studies: Interns read one assigned book during each of the ten months of the Internship. Each book speaks to that month’s theme, informing our conversation and responses; as can be seen, this list includes voices from different streams of the Christian church, which we value. Our desire is to foster a practical unity, including openness to and learning from the breadth of the Church. We have also discovered the value of addressing identity issues, which affect our ability to live fully devoted lives for Christ. And practically, we try early in our year together to inculcate the practice of intimacy with Christ, as well as spiritual practices which can aid this pursuit. We recognize that this is a lot of reading.
March: Introduction to New Monasticism: Read Punk Monk by Andy Freeman.
April: Spiritual Disciplines: Read The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski
May: Incarnation: Read Flesh by Hugh Halter.
June: Identity: Read Orphan, Slave, Son by Ben Pasley.
July: Missional Practices: Read Urban Spirituality by Karina Kreminski.
August: Faithful Presence: Read The New Parish by Paul Sparks.
September: Intimacy with God: Read After God’s Own Heart by Mike Bickle. This book also leads into our September RETREAT.
October: Justice: Read Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma.
November: Community: Read Life Together In Christ by Ruth Haley Barton