Understanding our faith is foundational to understanding our work.
We are Committed to Renewing Culture
Two responses to the salvation Christ offers have historically led the Church awry. One school of thought is self-centered. The Evangelical Protestant church can, at times, myopically think the work of the cross solely as fire insurance, something that "saves my soul from hell" and secures eternal salvation. This can be seen as the sum total of Christ’s salvific work until He returns, which leaves us to tell others, wait for Jesus’ return, pursue holiness, and alleviate the suffering of others where we can.
Another school of thought is seen in the ‘Social Gospel’ movement of the twentieth century where Christians, and accompanying allies, attempt to bring heaven on earth through political policy, social movements, applied science and sustainable technology. The thinking being, "If only we can get things in order and educate the masses towards higher ends, a more just, peaceful and harmonic world will evolve."
The Collaborative for cultural and economic renewal eschews either extreme. Christ, and Christ alone, is sovereign and brings about the restoration of Creation. He does so fully upon His return, for which we wait eagerly. Yet, in the meantime, He invites His covenant people to co-labor with Him towards a world of peace, justice, and love. It is a both/and scenario. Both Christ and the people He calls to Himself receive salvation, and the charge to co-labor with Him in the restoration of Creation.
Theologian N.T. Wright writes, “Jesus died for our sins, not so that we could sort out abstract ideas, but so that we, having been put right, could become part of God’s plan to put his whole world right.”
The Collaborative is about doubling down as the Church to do our part to "put his whole world right", and yet recognizing we do so at the Lord’s invitation, reliant upon His leading and transformation along the way. This is what Paul means in 1 Corinthians 3:9 when he writes, "By our labor, we co-labor with God..." (Here, we've utilized the original Greek word for co-labor in this passage, sunergos.)
Cultural and economic renewal are so badly needed in the American context. Within the culture we find more and more that values and virtue are divorced from the marketplace, the arts and government. Economic distress, embodied in impoverished communities and in impoverished souls, prevents a human flourishing that brings dignity, purpose and clarity both to one’s labor and community. Once restored, once placed within the larger context of God’s design and desire for creation’s renewal, our union with Christ unfolds and transforms both us and those around us.
The Collaborative is part of a 50-year initiative to restore and renew Christ-centered vocations in Orlando, and includes multiple programs and events designed to facilitate the types of learning and subsequent decision making that leads to stronger, healthier, and more stable communities. Specifically, those involved with The Collaborative seek to influence the societal spheres of the arts, marketplace, and government.
The Collaborative will teach principles of faith and work, integrating ideas and strategies to equip Christians to make the types of decisions in their day-to-day life that help renew culture and economics in Orlando.