From Nick Parsons, Director of Recruitment
I was bristling with excitement as I saw the sign for “Collective Church Parking” and drove into the lot at University High School on the Westside of Los Angeles. Today was the culmination of 13 months of prayer meetings, core group development, and ground work that church planters Casey Fritz and Lorenzo Smith have been doing to launch Collective Church. Volunteers were busy setting up refreshments, children’s ministry workers were adjusting signage, musicians were rehearsing, and tech volunteers were troubleshooting lights and projectors. I was able to give a quick hug and hello to Casey and Lorenzo as they attended to the last-minute details before the first public service for Collective Church would begin.
Before the service, over 150 people waited outside for the doors to open. Largely a younger crowd, we entered the auditorium and began to worship together. The music was exceptional and Lorenzo opened the service with the compelling vision of Collective Church: “to be a church where everyone uses their gifts to do ministry and to see the gospel flourish in the 23 neighborhoods that make up the Westside of LA.” Casey taught on the importance of answering the question Jesus asks in Mark’s gospel, “Who do you say that I am?” The service concluded with taking communion and worship.
While there were the normal hiccups of a first time endeavor, I came away impressed by the number and dedication of the volunteers and the quality of the service. It was truly a team effort. More than that, I was impressed by the reminder that the Lorenzo and Casey gave that, “the church is not a place where, but a people who.” The successful launch service of a new church is encouraging. Of even greater encouragement is the birth of a new community of people following Jesus in the city of Los Angeles.