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and with its online stream I immediately felt at home. I was so excited that I could participate each week, even from four hours away. What a time to be alive!
I’ll never forget the day my belonging to Collective became real.
It was a normal Sunday night and I was trying to log into the Collective live stream on my way-too-old-and-slow laptop. Due to the agonizingly slothful speed of my machine, me trying to multitask by wrangling my squirming toddler to sit down to the table for dinner, and (most notably) my extreme lethargy from being eighteen weeks pregnant with my second baby, I was late to join the feed. But as soon as I did, I was greeted with a stream of excited salutations from the scrolling chat window.
“Yay you’re here!”
“So glad you could make it!”
My fingers flew across the keyboard as I apologized profusely for being late to the stream, but everyone understood (as they still do each week).
“It’s okay, you’re just in time for prayers.”
I admit, because I was trying to force-feed my toddler his dinner and haphazardly feed myself, my attention was divided as Ben got up to start addressing all of us with concerns and celebrations of the Collective community. After a few minutes, though, my eyes and ears snapped to the computer screen once I heard Ben say my name.
You see, my husband works in ministry. So this isn’t my first go-around in church circles. A prayer request or praise in my favor isn’t a new thing for me, but this was different because, for the first time in my life, I was being prayed for and celebrated, and I didn’t ask for it.
I didn’t tell Ben to say any of that. I didn’t email or text him and tell him to make sure to celebrate, or even mention, my ultrasound from earlier that week. I didn’t even ask him to pray for me as a friend.
But he knew. And he cared.
"This place is different. Collective is reaching people in new and relevant ways, breaking down even geographical barriers in order to love and care for people."
And the consequent barrage of “Woo!”s and “Yeah!”s that erupted in the online chat window let me know that everyone cared.
These people weren’t grateful to God because of just any healthy baby. They were grateful to God for my healthy baby. And this unsolicited prayer and celebration on my behalf was such a precious gift to me.
Like I said, we are not new to ministry or the church world, but this place is different. Collective is reaching people in new and relevant ways, breaking down even geographical barriers in order to love and care for people.
This is why we need Collective to thrive. This is why my family and I support Collective financially. Because it matters.
And because it reminds me that I matter. And my family matters. And my babies matter.
And it’s a beautiful thing.
Grace & Peace,
Collective Online Host and Member
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.