I’ll never forget that phone call.
It was a Saturday in early 2017. The voice was that of a friend and fellow EFCA pastor.
“Aaron, you may want to sit down for this…Jeff passed away early this afternoon.”
It would take months for the gravity of those words to sink in. When Jeff Sorvik passed away many of us lost a friend, a mentor, a fellow champion of multiplication, and a brother in Christ.
And while I do find both hope and joy in knowing I’ll one day get to see Jeff again and chide his pasty white Scandinavian legs once more, for now I just really miss my friend.
I know that’s true of many of us.
So, what now?
It's a question many of us have asked. What happens to the Creo Collective when it suddenly loses its founder and lead visionary?
I’ll admit I initially wondered whether the dream that began in Creo might have died with Jeff. What has become clear over the past several months, however, is that Creo is far from finished.
The commitment many of you have voiced has been resolute. The support from EFCA leadership has been significant. By all accounts it would appear we are postured and ready to begin a new chapter.
For those who wish to journey forward with us, we would love to have you. The strength of Creo has always been in the collective of leaders and churches that make it up. We’d love to take this next leg of the journey with you.
As we do, we want to share with you a few things we will be focusing on in this next season:
1. Growing the foundation.
Truthfully, Creo grew faster than I think any of us anticipated. As encouraging as that has been, it hasn’t come without growing pains. In order for us to continue to grow more wide in our reach and more effective in our mission there is significant work on the backend that needs to continue to be developed as we move forward.
Up until now Creo has had little in the form of a plan of action for communication. We realize that has likely left some feeling largely disconnected at times. We are committed to changing that. This year you can expect to get emails each month with Creo updates, stories and resources. We will also be actively updating our social media and blog channels with regular new content, as well as utilizing our private Facebook group as a place to continue to encourage, pray for and resource one another. As you come across resources that you think can benefit the collective, please don’t hesitate to email them our way or post them on the group page for us all to glean from.
Our dream is that in time every member of the Creo Collective would be connected to others in ongoing coaching relationships. We believe the effectiveness and health of Creo will largely hinge on our ability to do this well. In this next season we will be focusing on developing resources, raising up coaches and doing everything we can to help current Creo members more deeply connect to one another in strategic coaching relationships.
Creo was birthed out of a collective desire for greater accountability amongst committed and connected peers. As much as I love being a part of the EFCA, this is one thing we do not generally do well. Our high value for autonomy too often fleshes itself out in the form of pastors and churches that have very little to do with one another. If this doesn’t change, we risk becoming little more than a collection of silos who happen to agree on a statement of faith. We believe there is a better way. It is a way marked not by independence, but interdependence. While this cannot be forced, it is a flame we intend to continue to fan with one another moving forward.
One final word
As we move forward together, we think it appropriate to admit on the front end that without Jeff our movement is largely an aspirational one. While many of us have planted churches, few of us have the kind of lifelong multiplication “street cred” that Jeff did.
However, we are committed to indeed aspiring together to be about so much more than simply growing a big church with our name in the subtitle. We aspire to be about the Father’s business. We long and pray and labor to multiply devoted followers of Christ and churches who are sent on gospel mission.
May God give us the grace, favor and fortitude required for the task ahead.
Aaron Loy serves as part of the Creo Collective Movement Team and as the Associate Director of Church Planting for the EFCA's Southeast District.