When you grow up in an unchurched family in the heart of the Bible Belt, you learn to appreciate the message of Jesus. Christians, not so much! My family spent years looking for a place where we could belong as imperfect people. With our hesitancy about organized religion and our doubts about their firmly held doctrines, we never seemed to fit in at the churches we visited. When we were finally found a judgement free community of people who are real about their flaws at Heartsong Church in Cordova, TN, it changed the trajectory of my life.
Ever since coming to faith in my late teens there, I have been passionate about planting non-traditional ministries and expanding the definition of “Church” so that more people can be included in the unfolding story of God in the world. Or more likely, so that the Church might experience all that God is doing through those we’ve left out or marginalized. This journey has taken me to so many places: Mississippi, Mexico, Boston, Palestine, Georgia, Jordan, and on, and I’ve found a home in Florida among amazing people who share this passion and vision for what the Church can be.
I serve as Director of Connection and Formation at Collective Church in DeLand, creating intergenerational opportunities for faith formation and cultivating Fresh Expressions in this innovation community. I love working with Sunday Soul Brunch, Pints & Parables, Occupy Trilogy, Art & Soul, Harry Potter and the Collective Text, and our Yoga program, just to name a few.
A year ago, the team at Collective stepped into leadership at the Stetson Wesley Foundation where I am the director, and this has opened up a world of opportunities to reimagine campus and young adult ministry.
I am also particularly passionate about the connection of justice and community organizing with fresh expressions, as the most authentic and unifying work of the church is often found in its service to the world. I hope that this movement will become increasingly diverse and inclusive as it grows here in Florida.
My calling is to build spiritual community among post-moderns, young people, and the “nones” and the “dones” we hear about in statistics about church decline. In this work, I find startling hope for the Church of the future, and I hope that my contribution to the Fresh Expressions team is a renewed optimism for both struggling churches and inspired pioneers about the path ahead.
I can’t wait to be a part of our ongoing outreach to pioneers and the inspiring work of training and resourcing people for this work through our SPARK and SURGE programs. It’s also so exciting to expand fresh expressions like Pints and Parables and Sunday Soul Brunch to new places all over the state. Please reach out if you’d like to get involved. No matter where you are in your journey, there is a way for you to be a part of this incredible movement of the Spirit in our conference.
In my off time, my hobbies center around nature (especially manatee watching), exercise, and meals with friends. You’ll likely find me running, doing yoga, at the beach, or hiking a trail if I’m not at Disney World.