The Collective Table is, today, a ministry that makes available conversation, music, meditation, and art. Their podcast has had as guests well-known Christian personalities such as Rob Bell, Jennifer Knapp, and Otis Moss III, among many others.
The tagline at the top of their website says, “Jesus – Justice – Joy.” And, when you talk with the leaders of The Collective Table, Rev. Chelsea Simon and Dana Black of San Dieguito United Methodist Church (San Diego, CA), you can sense the presence of all three parts of that tagline.
But, in the early days of their ministry, that was not always the case. Having noticed a lack of modern and progressive Churches in North County San Diego, Rev. Simon and Black wanted to form just that. So, preparations were made for about a year until, that is, COVID-19 hit.
“Like the rest of the world, we had to change our plans,” says Rev. Simon.
So, they went online, virtual, digital – whatever one might call it. They started having conversations on YouTube and started a podcast. Around their content, they put together curriculum for others to start groups wherever they might be located. It was not what they had in mind in the beginning, but it has been turning out great.
Dana Black reminds us all that the point of the entire effort of the ministry is to help people recognize that, “they are loved by God. That is the most important thing. We speak to those who have been historically disenfranchised from the Church.”
Recently, the ministry received grant funding from the California-Pacific Conference New Ministries Essential Ministry Team for which, “we are very grateful for not only the funding, but the recognition that what we are doing is important,” says Rev. Simon.
Going forward, they plan to expand their in-person ministry opportunities. And, of course, they are continuing on in their online ministry with a new virtual book club that includes Q&A’s with the authors of their assigned books.
Listen to more of Rev. Chelsea Simon and Dana Black talk about their ministry via the audio below.
The Collective Table as a ministry reaches a target of young adults and youth who need to feel a sense of God’s love for them, but probably will not attend a traditional church service. Here they get authenticity and transparent communication about who God is. Follow The Collective Table on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and subscribe to their podcast here.
To learn more about the Cal-Pac New Ministries EMT, visit calpacumc.org/newministries/.