The end of the year always brings me to a period of reflection, spiritually, personally and professionally. While everything in life tells me to crash forward with the newest app, the latest version, the new band and the coolest new movies, I think it’s important to take time to see where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished in the last year. This holds true for Collective MKE as a community as well.
I can only speak from personal experience, but I still stand by the adage that this community we have built is absolutely the strongest church family that I’ve ever had. For so much of my life I was a pew sitter, consuming church on Sunday and “touching base” once during the week for family nights or activities for our kids. I felt as if I was on the outside looking in. A superficial experience without real connection.
Some of the memorable touch points for me in 2018 were:
Taking part in the Jesus and Wine events. These gathering were a good chance to talk with others in a relaxed and accepting environment about contemporary topics like toxic Christianity (yes, it can be a thing), violence and gun control and our flammable political environment. A fire at the location where it met forced these events to be suspended, but hopefully they will start up again sometime.
The annual Collective MKE canoe/kayak trip on the Fox River. This is always a well attended affair and this year was the best yet. What better way to spend a day with good friends than on the water watching the herons, ducks and turtles.
Collective MKE service events. Our trips to the Guest House and CTGA are a great chance to give back. It gives hands and feet to our church and is the singlemost rewarding activity I can think of when I think of Collective.
Jesus and Beer nights. While I don’t make it but a few times a year, I always enjoy the discussion points. Like J&W, this is a relaxed environment to talk about the tough questions of our faith and how Jesus figures into any and all of it.
Collective Worship. Potluck, coffee, worship, deep discussion and communion. What is not to like about any of it?
Caring for one another. I won’t name any specific cases, but I always feel like this community cares for one another unlike any other I’ve been a part of. If there’s a need, word travels and that need gets met. It is in caring for one another that we learn to care for the rest of the world.
Prayer. Every Sunday we bring forth things that we feel would benefit from corporate prayer. Then we carry those through our weeks and follow up with those who asked us to think of them. I know it helped me with my own job struggles early on in the year.
The Liturgy of Fire. What can I say? I’m a pyromaniac at heart. And it always feels good to burn a little piece of what is bothering me.
Our annual Holiday gathering at Retzer. Last January we shared grilled cheese and soup as we came together to eat, converse and play games.
In a nutshell, 2018 was a continuation of my journey with this community of people who believe that Jesus is as real today as He was 2000 years ago. It is so amazing to be part of a “church” as I feel church was originally intended to be. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us as we press on to live and love like Jesus.
I, for one, am glad to be a part of our collective.