Intentional Communities…

  • Are places where people live together with shared resources and explicit common values
  • Include ecovillages, cohousing, land trusts, income-sharing communes, co-ops, and spiritual communities
  • Are a practical and viable way to live together with other people

According to the Fellowship for Intentional Community, an intentional community is a place where people live “together with shared resources on the basis of explicit common values. Some examples include ecovillages, cohousing, land trusts, income-sharing communes, student co-ops, and spiritual communities.”

The Bruderhof, a one-hundred-year old communal movement with multiple locations on four continents, is one of the oldest existing intentional communities in the world today.

You can visit us to see an intentional community up-close!

So how does the Bruderhof live in intentional community? We start with our “explicit common values” – the teachings of Jesus and our faith in him. Ultimately, we’re not living for intentional community but for Jesus, who calls all people to himself. His two great commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So we live together because we believe that communal living is the best way to follow Jesus.

This then leads use to share all our resources (OK, not our toothbrushes) in full community of goods. We believe that in order for an intentional community to work, you have to be fully committed to the idea. So we share our lives and finances; none of us owns any property in our name, none of us receives a paycheck, stipend, or allowance, and membership is a lifetime commitment. By doing that, we’ve built a place where are no rich or poor, where everyone is cared for, everyone belongs, and everyone can contribute. This is the answer to all that is wrong with society today.

Of course, once you’ve lived in fully intentional community for a while you wonder why people live any other way. When we pool all our income, talents, and energy, we can take care of one another and reach out to others. A lot of the day-to-day problems people deal with – paying bills, getting a meal on the table, finding a good school for their children, access to medical care, feeling isolated – are answered by living in community.

Not all intentional communities practice sharing resources to the full extent we do, and many are not faith-based, either. And that’s OK; we applaud any effort that brings people together in committed relationships and shared resources, properties, and gifts. Tell us know how you are living in intentional community – and let’s learn from each other.

For more details about our form of intentional communal living – common housing, work, meals, and so forth – see our page on community of goods, and these sections of the Bruderhof’s rule of life, Foundations of our Faith and Calling.

Have questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us!

Visit one of the oldest intentional communities in the world.