The Dream Collective was birthed out of National Community Church. But the dream began long before us.
Every generation stands on the shoulders of those who have come before them. In the mid-1960s, two young pastors, Dick Foth and Bob Schmidgall, responded to a call from E.M. Clark to "come dream with us." They both had a dream to plant a church. Bob Schmidgall would plant a church in Naperville, Illinois. It would become the leading missions giving church in the Assemblies of God. Dick Foth who would plant a church in Urbana, Illinois and later become President of Bethany College in California. Their ministries and leadership would inspire a young pastor coming behind them- Mark Batterson and National Community Church. The dream of National Community Church was a dream within a dream of Dick Foth and Bob Schmidgall. It was a dream within a dream within a dream of E.M. Clark. The inception of National Community Church happened 35 years before its first service. We are living in the answers to prayers that were prayed long before we were born.
On January 14, 1996, National Community Church gathered as a core group of 19 people in a DC public school. Nine months later, the school was closed due to fire code violations. With an average attendance of 25, we didn’t feel like a church yet, and we were about to become a homeless church. After a prayer walk around Capitol Hill, God opened an amazing door of opportunity to hold services at the movie theaters at Union Station. That began a journey of discovering our unique fingerprint– a belief that the church should be in the middle of the marketplace, the church should be the most creative place on the planet, the church should be the most diverse place on the planet, and God would bless us in proportion to how we gave to missions and cared for the poor in our city.
For the past two decades, National Community Church has launched locations, planted churches, started businesses, and sent missionaries. Now, we want to turn ourselves inside out and seed the dreams of the next generation. Because legacy isn’t what you accomplish. It’s what others accomplish because of you. Success is succession. Discipleship is growing fruit on other people’s trees. Discipleship is a dream within a dream.
That’s why we launched The Dream Collective. That’s why we play the long game. We don’t think here and now; we think nations and generations. We want to leave a legacy to the third and fourth generation. We want to give a blessing and a birthright to the dreamers who long for revival in the church, reformation in the kingdom, and renaissance in culture. We want to inspire the next generation to write better books, tell better stories, produce better movies, compose better music, draft better legislation, and build better businesses.