People may or may not know it, but we are in the middle of the startup of a new church. It's called CollectiveMKE, and it is unlike any conventional church in a lot of ways. It stems in part from our soul-searching assessment of what "church" should mean.
For roughly the past two years, Donna and I have been searching for a good church fit. We left Elmbrook two years ago this May. I finished up my time with the middle school ministry and we just kind of stopped going. I can't precisely say why, only that we seemed to have changed our thinking on what church, or the mission of the church, should be. We learned a ton during our stay at Elmbrook, and left it with no ill will, it just seemed like it was time to move on.
We tried another church for a bit, whose mission fit ours quite nicely. But it turned out that because of distance and location, we couldn't engage with it like we would like. We wanted to be a part of the whole church, but that would have meant a half hour drive each way a few times a week. We thought it was important to be accessible and local to a church.
Again, it wasn't them, it was us.
And so we've hooked up with a pastor, a few key friends and a bunch of people who have expressed an interest in something different. As I said before, this church will be different. It is intended to be largely built of small community groups of 8-15 people who meet weekly around a table for a meal. It is our hope that these groups will be spread all over metro Milwaukee.
The thought is that it will be built upon four premises.
Table: We want to open our homes to our neighbors, friends and community. By sharing a meal in a non-threatening environment, we can get to know one another and build a better social fabric in the process.
Potluck: This does not have anything to do with food. What the thought is is that everyone brings something to the table. In other words, we all have gifts, talents and skills. We need to tap into those skills to further foster community and thus effect the wider world.
Key Chains: In order to unlock the doors of making better communities - through service, outreach, fellowship, etc., we may need people to help with that. These people are keys on our key chain.
Journey: This is the recognition that we are all at different places on our life journeys. It is our goal to accept these differences and meet people where they are at.
I may not have done justice to what these four premises are, but trust that it is the intent of this collective group to take church beyond a once a week meeting within four walls. We want to meet in our homes through the community groups, then gather those community groups once a month (with an eventual weekly gathering) for a worship hour.
Then, maybe quarterly doing a much larger collaborative event with other churches. Also, we are very much focused on serving the community around us through service and social justice endeavors. There's a place for everyone here. That is the aim.
It's all very daunting and exciting at the same time. We're in the midst of much planning and formulating, but I already like the format that it is taking. As a launch team of between 12-15 people, we are meeting in a house every week to talk, share ideas and strategize.
If you want to find out more about it (and there is so much more) check out the website or drop me an email. I'd love to tell you more.