Next Up: Sanford!
I have long been aware that my generation gets behaving and belonging before believing (to borrow some words from the brilliant Rev. Ben Collins). I know that intimately because that is part of my own story, even in realizing I was called to ministry. If you asked me when I was 21 if I wanted to be a United Methodist pastor in a local church, after laughing at you, I would have mumbled some curse words under my breath and rolled my eyes at how irrelevant the church is in solving the world’s real problems.
25,000 kids die globally of preventable diseases and hunger every damn day.
2.5 million kids and youth experience homelessness in the US every year.
Even though the Fair Housing Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed 50 years ago, our neighborhoods are still painfully segregated.
Fresh out of college, I worked full-time for a shelter for youth under 21, and I gave approximately zero cares about believing anything that didn’t lead to some kind of liberation for 18-year-old single parents living under bridges and in bus terminals. What I did care about though, was deeply investing my life and my passion into making the world a better place for them and for all of us.
Now I realize that’s a pretty run-of-the-mill experience for folks who have gotten burned out on organized faith, but often not on Jesus, the pursuit of a beautiful belonging, or the desire to make Good in this world.
After a few years at that shelter, I reached what is called “Compassion Fatigue” by people who know what they’re talking about and I ended up in a therapist’s chair because my best friend loved me enough to call and say, “Yeah, Richard? Its an emergency.” I realized that I would not survive without a community that literally carried me on the roughest days and a deep abiding formation that could connect me to Something Bigger than myself. That’s when I began to grasp what “the church” should be and could be: a place of belonging, formation, and enacting goodness now.
This is why I’m so excited that Crave’s next home will be in Sanford, Florida, where we can create a space to ask:
What does it mean to commit to a place and a people in a transient, globalized world?
What would it look like to gather with other folks trying to make the world a better place, even if they’re still figuring out what they believe along the way?
How can folks who so often create belonging for others (i.e. the world-changers gathering, growing, healing, investing, incubating, innovating) find a place of belonging for themselves?
How can the church invest in the big dreams of people who may never join their church but have already joined the mission to bring Goodness here, now?
We’re not sure about the answers, but we’re excited to ask these questions and more in Crave’s next cohort of spiritually curious world-changers in the best town in Central Florida: Sanford. (Try to fight me on this if you want, but you’ll see: we’re awesome).
Want to learn more? Let’s grab a coffee or a swing on the waterfront and dream together.
The last year of my life has been quite the journey in both my personal and professional life, lots of changes, lots of challenges, and lots of learning. I was a bit on the fence about applying for Crave because I had my hands in a variety of projects already and I really didn’t want to be shared on yet another calendar of responsibilities. But, after talking to Michele, Crave’s founder, and learning that most of it was not mandatory and that we would be the first group to experience it, I felt better about getting involved.
After all, Crave came in at the perfect time. It subconsciously became part of my support system. Every time we would meet, my relationship with the rest of the members grew and my appreciation for the hustle we were all going through stayed alive. The space that Michele created promotes a sense of inclusiveness that is welcoming and leaves you with no option but to listen and be heard. It’s awesome.
One thing that brought relief about Crave is that they didn’t enforce any type of religious beliefs upon us. We did have certain events at churches and the casual prayer, which I’m cool with, being that I grew up in a catholic household. Considering that as an adult, I don’t regularly attend church or label myself under any specific religious group, Crave triggered a sense of curiosity that sparked an interest in digging deeper into my spiritual beliefs, which I had been seeking for some time now.
I developed a great relationship with my mentor Ben Collins, which I am very grateful for. The project I originally presented in my Crave application went through some changes that required me to make some big decisions, which led to a significant shift in the project’s trajectory. Ben helped me through that. He was super easy to talk to, down to earth, and very willing to share his knowledge. He helped me strategize and shared some contacts with me that helped me find answers to come challenging questions. Ben is great and I hope we can continue to develop a friendship beyond Crave.
Some of the workshops and community partner meetings were a huge help for me and the development of my project. In particular, the workshop we did at Rollins College labeled “INNOVATION: Rollins Advanced Center for Entrepreneurship with Cari Coats Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator” was a tremendous help! We got to pitch our projects to some of the most innovative leaders in town and get their feedback. It was great!
It’s been a phenomenal experience being able to see my project evolve alongside the rest of the group. Every one of the Crave members has been an inspiration for me and I am very proud of everyone’s achievements. I hope that the Crave organization was able to learn from us as much as we were able to learn from them. I look forward to seeing everyone succeed and making lasting contributions in our communities. Thanks!