Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Collective: Working Together for a Common Cause
By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS) -- Recently the church I serve, Calvary of Albuquerque, has added a multi-site campus in Nob Hill (called Metro Nob Hill), located near downtown Albuquerque.
This coming spring, Calvary of Albuquerque/Metro Nob Hill will meet in the historic Lobo Theater, the oldest standing theater along historic Route 66. Built in 1938, the theater has been a hub of cultural life for decades.
As part of our mission to minister in the area, Calvary elected to continue a ministry it began years ago: The Artist Fellowship. However, for our new location, we decided that a fresh name should replace the old—so we chose The Collective.
The word collective causes one to pause. What is a collective? The term collective simply means “belonging or relating to members of a group.”
There is even a philosophy called collectivism. Historically, collectivism is a movement (philosophical, religious, political, economic, etc.) that emphasizes the interdependence of human beings working toward a common good. In a sense, collectivism is the opposite of extreme individualism…the idea that it is only the individual that matters (my life, my ideas, my dreams: emphasis on “my”).
Collectivism values cooperation between its members, bringing cohesion to a particular mission or set values as agreed upon by a governing body. As a political movement, collectivism has hit some rough waters (communism, Marxism, etc). But the concept has redemptive qualities as well.
If you were to define collectivism with one word it would be community. Community, properly understood, is people sharing common values and populating an environment for social identity.
By choosing “The Collective” as our new name, we are saying that we have a common theme in pursuit of our mission. Calvary of Albuquerque’s mission is defined by Upreach (seeking God), Outreach (reaching out to others), and Inreach (building up the body of Christ). Therein, Metro Nob Hill’s vision as well.
Further, by using the name “The Collective,” we echo Paul’s teaching of the body of Christ as found in 1 Corinthians 12: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
Keeping this definition in mind, The Collective at Metro Nob Hill has a sub-mission: to promote the arts within our church and city. Our goal is to use the Nob Hill site as a place where creative people can come together to seek God (Upreach), reach out to others (Outreach), and build one another up in God’s Word (Inreach): the same mission as our sponsoring church.
Recently, I’ve experienced how The Collective operates, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. Three Calvary of Albuquerque artists, Khanh Dang, Brandon Lopez, and Dominic Sedillo began a series of artwork based on the books by Christian author, Vernard Eller.
Vernard Eller (1927-2007) was a writer, theologian, professor, and pastor. Eller thoroughly believed in radical discipleship, yearning to live a life like Christ as taught in Scripture.
In his work, Witness, McClendon writes, “The reality the gospel recounts is neither unearthly nor time-and-space bound, neither Gnostic (concerned to escape this world) nor positivist (concerned only with scientific facts and phenomena), nor is the gospel a layered amalgam or the two…Instead, it transmutes these two, flesh and spirit, into a distinct biblical whole (‘God with us”), a reality best understood as the hypostatic union of God’s story with our own.”i
Though Khanh, Brandon, and Dominic don’t agree with all of Eller’s theological points, they found the titles of his books intriguing, representing a cross-section of society’s concerns (war, sex, morality, etc.). After meeting with me to discuss the theological and philosophical elements of the project, a truly collaborative process began to unfold—a collective unit working toward a common goal: creating artwork for the community.
To add further collaborative facets to the project, we brought in the film crew from Calvary of Albuquerque, led by Dave Dorl, to create a short documentary on the making of the artwork. We asked Pastor Skip Heitzig to host the short film. Here again, more collaboration and a collective mindset.
The point is this: When we gather as a church, bringing our varying gifts and talents, we form a community of believers that represent a collective understanding of our roles to impact the world for the cause of Christ.
The Collective artist outreach is one such endeavor. It is a sub-ministry within the larger ministry of Calvary of Albuquerque, which, in turn, is part of the larger body of Christ. Collaboration abounds.
So, if you are in the Albuquerque area on Friday, March 2, come on out to the new Metro Nob Hill campus and be a part of a collaborative effort to impact the world for the cause of Christ.
Metro Nob Hill is located at 3013 Central Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM.
The Collective event will have an artist reception beginning at 6:00 pm. A documentary preview and artist interview will begin at 7:30 pm, followed with music by Fig, Vagabond Prophet, and Marsh Shamburger.
i (Witness, page 137).
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