CoLab: The Name Tells the Story

By Ed Morgan, Director

In the founding days of our experiment in New York City ministry synergy we called ourselves Manhattan Christian Collaboration Center. We knew what we wanted to do — our visionary, Mac Pier, totally nailed it.” New York is arguably the world’s most important global city and the Gospel of Christ is in a renaissance period here. We can accelerate that growth by bringing ministries together so collaboration can happen. Mike Scales, President of Nyack College, caught the vision and provided our space. He saw not only ministry collaboration but students and graduates from “New York’s Christian college” investing their lives in this great city. And so MCCC was born, with a slightly clunky but very accurate name.

The dream unfolded in stages. At first our pioneer members felt like members of WeWork, a “collective.” That was a start. But we had always aspired to move beyond being a collective like WeWork to being a true collaborative — working on projects together—countering the ministry “silo mentality” to accelerate the Gospel in New York.

So, it was time for the tongue-twisting MCCC acronym to give way to a more contemporary and motivational name.

Our partners get together in a creative session with our favorite workshop facilitator, Ken Kinard. Once the name CoLab appeared out of the creative mists there was amazing unanimity.

The name would be CoLab — and we would jumpstart. The collaboration with current partners and prospective partners by forming working groups in four areas; multiplying churches, marketplace ministries, millennials and young people, and the poor and marginalized. That’s happening now.

So, the name does tell a story — and the story is that God’s heart is pleased with people who want to work together.

 

Making the Bible Yours Forever

By Ed Morgan, Director

One of the most appreciated activities we have at CoLab is lunch together every Thursday, sponsored by the Grace and Mercy Foundation, listening to Scripture come alive as it’s beautifully read and dramatized around the big square table in our main conference room. There are usually more than 20 of us. We soak in the Psalms plus chapters from both Old and New Testaments for some 30 minutes.

I host it and I’m passionate about it because I’ve been listening to the Bible in community for over six years now. It has given me a wonderful gift — a love for Scripture that I never had despite a lifetime of “devotional readings” of the Bible privately.

It turns out that the most influential book in human history, as I like to call it each week at our sessions-- has qualities when read aloud that make you fall in love with it. Hearing it beautifully read and lightly dramatized enhances your realization that these are words of our Father and the very words of Jesus, translated of course. And as Christians have found over centuries, the Bible is personalized to us by the Holy Spirit. That’s why I see people jotting notes! And for me the Holy Spirit seems to interpret more often in a room full of fellow believers. I love the fact that what we do on Thursdays is an ancient practice — the Bible was written to be read aloud — and the effects in both the Old and New Testaments were amazing. Check out what happened when Ezra read the law aloud to the people in the book of Nehemiah.

Scripture is beautiful, it’s profound, it’s utilitarian, it’s convicting, it’s suspenseful and it’s comforting, sometimes all in one session. So, after six years I figure I’ve heard the whole Bible between two and three times — it takes just 90 hours to do that.

I’m so thankful to the Grace and Mercy Foundation for starting me on that path years ago and for sponsoring our times in Room 1733 every Thursday. Now it feels like the Bible is mine forever.

As one of our regular attenders says, “What could I do with my lunch hour that could be any better?”

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Public Reading of Scripture at CoLab NYC