Collective Leadership.

'Our leadership structure is a mutual team where each member has equal voice at the table. Together, we discern God's spirit and converse around the direction of Collective and seek to submit to one another.'

The statement above is what we aspire to build as our leadership at Collective - a mutual team, gathered to the table of Christ, equal voices, and submitting to one-another as we lead.

It's an exciting vision. It's radically different from the hierarchical systems we often see around us in church culture and the wider systems of power in our world. To example this type of leadership, is to example the way Jesus led, and outworking the great commission he sent us out to engage in.

Up until now we've been served by different people as needed - and we've been served wonderfully by every one of them. Thank you!

Going forward, we're inviting everyone to consider joining this team.

We want a leadership table filled with different gifts. Apostles. Prophets. Shepherds. Teachers. Evangelists. With different personalities. With different perspectives. With a passion for Jesus and his church.

The first gathering of this new team is the end of August. Before this, we'll be inviting anyone interested in being part of this team to gather for a couple of meals with Vicky and myself at our house, where we'll discuss leadership, how the team will work, and how we see things developing.

Coming along to these meals is an opportunity to ask questions, to learn about authentic leadership. Don't worry, you aren't automatically signed up, and not everyone who comes will be able to be on the team anyway. But we want as many of you to break free from the past wrong perceptions of leadership, and to at least consider serving the church in this way.

We want some of you to leave behind hurt caused by bad leadership in the past and to consider being a part of modelling a different way of leading where the church can display and teach good leadership. We want to destroy the inherited and assumed beliefs that leaders are only 'male', that they need to be 'extroverted' or 'loud', that they need to have it all together, that they need to be 'older'/'elderly', or able to 'preach a cool message up on the stage'... etc!!

The truth about leadership is exciting, liberating, it's vital to the health of the church, and it's something I believe more of us need to recognise God's calling to serve in. We'll get stuck into lots of this as we eat together... come and hear what leadership could look like at Collective.

So, the invite goes out to all who are part of Collective, and who have been part of this years Collective Learning evenings.

We haven't picked the dates for the meals yet, so for now, please register your interest and we'll be in touch soon...

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Don't hide. Influence.

I thought I would share about some of the contacts the Collective team have been having recently. They are encouraging, and help us celebrate the journey we are on as a church community.

The theme I've been picking up on over the last weeks as I've prayed, spent time with others, and read, has been been about not under-estimating what God is doing with us, or not hiding or holding back sharing about what we believe.

We have had numerous people share words over our church family about the influence we will have as we live out the vision we feel God has called us into.

We recently updated the 'Identity' section on the website, expounding our vision a little more, and you might find that helpful to understand some of the principles and commitments we feel are being built into Collective as we establish our church family. Our next step is turning all this into videos to inform others about Collective. Keep an eye out for that over the summer.

As word has spread about Collective, we've had many people contact us seeking time with us to learn about what we're doing.

The encouragement they leave us with every single time is simple, but profound - this is beautiful, this is needed, this is timely, more people need to hear about this...

Just within the last week, we've been contacted by local north coast church leaders who love what we're doing, who are desperate to connect with people with our values, as they don't have the freedom to explore these values in their current context - values like 'all are welcome', 'there's space at the table for all', 'Intentional formation in the way of Christ.', and so much more - values we have established as part of our DNA, these people don't feel able to discuss, never mind live out in their contexts.

We've been visited recently by new friends from down around Belfast, who gathered with our team at Origin, where we ate together, shared stories, encouraged them and discussed how we could work together going forward. We've followed up with lunches with them, with lots of emails, with plans to come back up and meet the full Collective family over a BBQ in the summer. They would desperately LOVE to join Collective, but distance is the issue.

We continue to have people from Ballymena, Belfast and beyond seeking local expressions of Collective that they can join - Table gatherings, expressions of values with groups like Origin, walking club, etc. How can we make this happen? How can we see more blobs pop up across NI, which then gather every few months back to a central gathering to all celebrate together? The big blob!

In a few weeks time we'll be welcoming new friends from England, who are coming to hear about our 'expression of church' as they want to plant something similar back in England.

That's all on top of the wonderful friendships we have with Redeemer in Belfast and Kings Church in Bangor, who we continue to partner with to break ground and build exciting new communities of faith across Northern Ireland.

I hope this encourages you a little. It encourages me so much as I have the privilege of sharing the story of Collective with more and more people each week. I believe this will continue to grow over the coming months. Please continue to pray for Vicky and myself as we lead in all of this. This week's Collective notes are on hardship, and continuing to rise up in hardship... very much written with our journey in mind... let's be a people who recognise the struggle that there is to spread the gospel message, but who celebrate and encourage one another as we see God continuing to go before us, preparing hearts, opening doors, preparing people of peace who are ready to hear more about Jesus, and how his church is called to transform the world.

The challenge then to each of us; Don't hide. Share the story of Jesus, of our community, of the vision we have for an ecclesia of love and grace here on the north coast, and many more across NI. Don't hide. Speak. Influence. Invite.

On Wednesday evening, 31st May, 8pm, we gather for Collective Prayer. I encourage you to make this a top priority in your week... we'll be praying through our values, hearing from God, and building each other up. Don't miss it!

Resurrection

Read at our Collective Worship gathering on Easter Sunday as part of the Prayers of the People from our liturgy.


Lord Jesus, reading our Collective notes and walking beside the first disciples this week has been an emotional rollercoaster. It's not hard to see parallels with today's world. From the thrilling hope of a long-awaited triumph over violence and evil, like the disciples approaching Jerusalem; to the confusion and fear of today's politics, like the disciples watching Your trial. We recognise our personal screams of denial as we fail the marginalised, and hear our own metaphorical cocks crow.

We navigate life, stunned and bewildered, through long hours of fear and doubt, struggling to comprehend, unwilling to believe the things we see unfolding on our screens, barely able to keep faith alive. Just like Your followers 2000 years ago. The flickering light of hope so faint, another despairing breath might extinguish it completely, and allow darkness to consume us.

Then, Lord Jesus, today has dawned. Yes, today has dawned and the piercing light of the impossible breaks through the blackness - and tales our breath clean away. A new morning. A new day. A third way. So here, right now, in the brilliance of the Resurrection news, Jesus, teach us to see the limits and challenges of life in a new way: as God-appointed opportunities.

Inspire us today to reject the familiar urge to say“Well if I had more X, then I could do Y”. In the knowledge of Your all-redeeming, all-restoring, all-conquering love, revealed in all its beauty today, let us put our excuses aside. The shortfall of our pennies-and-pounds budget; the hurrying, scurrying, hours-minutes-and-tick-tock amount of time that we have…. Today You have shown us that none of these limitations can hold us back from the creative work of loving, loving and loving that You call us to do.

Standing quietly at the side of Your empty tomb, our hearts are made whole. We now know that our limitations can be gifts, if we let them be. We simply have to do what You created us to do: receive the gift of the present moment - with all of its challenges and all of its potential - and, with Your divine help, be creative and courageous in using it to love.

Lord, have mercy.

Welcome to the blog

It's great to get this blog up and going. It's a space for myself and others to begin to share more thoughts with our wider Collective community.

We are a community of people who value both the gathering and scatering, because we recognise that in following the call of Christ to go and make disciples, this can't be achieved through simply gathering with like minded friends... but it can't be achieved by simply scattering and living an individual and independent type of Christian faith either.

We need both the gathering and the scattering.

This is why we as the Collective church family focus so much on balance. We LOVE to gather, but we also LOVE to scatter as it's in recognising God working in ALL areas of life that we become disciples, and in getting caught up in His mission, our church comes alive.

So, this blog will be a space for our community to encourage each other, to cheer each other on, for training, equipping, for connecting us... it's to remind us again, and again, and again... that we need each other. We need to gather. We need to scatter. We can go deeper. We can be transformed. We can see heaven being established on earth.

That begins with us... Collective... let's live out this new heavenly reality, right now.