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!