Now that you know the meaning of discernment, you’re ready to know how that process plays out for discerning Missional neighbors in Community First! Village.

The process begins with a tour of the Village.

When pandemics don’t preclude such, tours can be arranged online. Your time at the Village need not be restricted to your initial tour and attending events or other activities. Spend time volunteering and getting to know neighbors.

Pray, learn, discern.

There is a big difference in determining whether you were meant to serve in Community First! Village and discerning whether you were meant to serve and live here. Pray that God will reveal the difference and which path is meant for you. You also must learn what you’re in for should you complete the discernment process and become commissioned. We want you to know who our neighbors really are, what sort of issues they have overcome and continue to deal with, and how the mission, vision, values and goals of Mobile Loaves & Fishes are aligned to compassionately respond. How will you come to know these things?

After this course of study, your eyes will be open. You will have a better understanding of who we are and who we serve. While some will be energized by what they hear and read, others will not. This is a critical step in the process, because God uses the desires of our hearts to guide us to where we are meant to be. If you cannot see yourself living and serving alongside our beautiful neighbors in all their messy glory, then this call is not for you.

Those still committed to moving forward are invited to complete the application package. All components must be submitted to be accepted. This will include the application itself, reflection questions on the required reading, information authorizing MLF to conduct a background check, and photos.

Next Steps in Your Application Journey

After submitting your application, you will receive a call from the Application Coordinator or the Discernment Team Lead to discuss it. This can take several weeks, so please allow our Missional team some grace. We’re all volunteers, and new applications take time.

Once your application is approved you will have an initial interview. Candidates moving forward are assigned a Missional Mentor. This person or team will walk with you throughout the heart of the process, which will take around 9-12 months. This time centers on your volunteer efforts at the Village—a time of deep meaning and purpose, punctuated by difficulty. As your journey evolves, you are encouraged to ask yourself: “Is this for me? Can I live at peace even when drama is unfolding around me? How will I deal with stress?” Be totally honest with yourself and your mentor. Let them be your guide. As you near the end of this phase, your mentor will decide when you’re ready to write your essay—a summary of where you are spiritually in the process, what you’ve learned, and reflections on the neighbors and missionals who have been formative in your growth.

Your mentor’s endorsement and your essay are distributed up to the MLF Executive Team who review all the information, talk with staff, missionals and neighbors, and render their decision. Candidates moving forward in the process will then be interviewed by the Discernment Team. We conduct Discernment Team interviews four times a year–in December, March, June and September.

With the affirmation of the Discernment Team, candidates are then presented to the entire Missional community for a vote. Over the months of your preparation, our Missional community will be praying for you by name. We will ask God to help us see His will, that those He is calling to serve our dear neighbors will be discerned. By the time the vote happens you will have had numerous opportunities to establish relationships with the Missional community, so we all will know you along with your heart.

With 70% or more positive votes, candidates are accepted into the community. Discerners are notified promptly after the vote, and the date for commissioning is set to coincide with our next quarterly Missional Meeting—January, April, July or October.

Once commissioned, the real journey begins. Logistically, there are all the details of moving:

  • choosing a pad site and purchasing an RV or Park Model Home with written approval from MLF based on Village requirements, or choosing to live in a tiny home
  • reviewing and signing a one-year rental agreement with MLF
  • making Community First! Village your primary residence

There are also all the details of serving—each Missional fills required roles in support of neighbors and Missionals, participates monthly in their small group meeting, attends quarterly Missional meetings and the annual retreat, and follows their heart in using their gifts and talents the best way they can to support the success of the Village.

Next Step

Let’s discuss the details.

Frequently Asked Questions