About Michelle Corl
Starting her journey volunteering in local churches, Michelle knew from a young age that she was interested in helping her community, by teaching its children.
Knowing her calling, she enrolled in an elementary education degree to professionally gain the skills needed to flourish as a teacher. It wasn’t until after her internship that she realized something was missing. She loved teaching, loved working with the children, but didn’t have the same drive she had once hoped for. The missing ingredient? Faith.
It may be a clique, but as the saying goes – if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life – and that is what we felt Michelle has found through working with the church. “I wouldn't say I'm desperately passionate about teaching kids math, but I am passionate about teaching kids about the Bible, about God.”
Combining her college education with the excitement and drive that she has to teach about God, has landed her the title Kid’s Content Specialist, meaning she writes the children’s ministry curriculum for all of the kids, from birth to grade 5!
Building Engaging Online Campuses
The paradigm shift in the last few years that has kept a lot of us home, has meant that many now opt for an online church experience. The Hope Community Church has been through the same shifts, and Michelle gives us an insight into her experiences of designing online church services. She is very honest and lets us know that if learning is a curve, she hasn’t gotten over the curve for the online platform just yet.
But, speaking with her provides us, many of us who are going through similar struggles, with a real sense of community spirit, and hope. We are not alone throughout this process of crafting church experiences online.
In-person engagement may be at an all-time low for many church communities, but Michelle’s angle is far from pessimistic. Instead, she focuses on the need to transform our online campuses and provide everyone with access to the same quality connections that can be found in the physical church space.
Placing value on small groups and mentorship specifically, the ideal online campus at the Hope Community Church would echo similar values, with a known person to connect with once a week. Far more than simply a collection of recordings, the online space would instead become a new site for the church, transforming it into something much greater.
Help For Those Who Are Not Yet Here
One of the most inspiring things to come out of our conversation with Michelle was the notion of working towards a better future, for those who are not yet a part of the church. With a focus on volunteer onboarding and training alongside exciting ways of engaging parents and kids, there is an electrifying energy about the work they are doing at Hope. Whatever stage a person is at on their journey of faith, this church community is dedicated to getting out there and expanding their horizons. Incorporating inclusivity and a wide and welcoming reach means that the sky really is the limit.
“We exist for those who aren't here yet, and that's the idea – that if we want to be a place where we are a presence in the community, we don't necessarily expect people to come to our physical campus, or eventually our online campus, we want to go to them”
Seeking solutions to some of the problems found within their local community, the ministry worked together to create a new initiative – ‘Fostering Hope.’ Aiming to bridge the gap between foster children who have not yet found a permanent home and families with extra love to give, they are seeking to provide a safe space for every child that needs it.
Working alongside Wake county to provide homes for children or resources for families that are going through the fostering process, this program will awaken awareness in all members of the community. Placing importance on partnering with other organizations and churches, the team at Hope is focused on results – reaching the widest number of people while prioritizing community.
One of the final, and most important takeaways from our conversation with Michelle, was just how important human connections are. Delving into her early experiences of the church, she shares how special her first unofficial mentor was in keeping her on solid ground. Sometimes we don’t know how badly we need a support network, so we know how important a friend emerging in the church setting must have been to Michelle.
"If you want to talk about some of the hardships, or the wins, or whatever it happens to be, anything you want to process through, I'm going to be with you, I'm going to pray with you through it.”
Not just the heavy stuff, though. She places importance on meeting with members of other churches too, to give you space to get out of your little bubble and see things from a different angle. Platforms like Facebook can be an amazing way to bounce ideas off of people from all over the nation, connected by their shared faith and love of God.
Specifically, the Orange children's church curriculum has provided Michelle with endless entertainment, ideas, and inspiration.