Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Last month, my friend Andrew posted an article I had wanted to write about for some time.  You can check it out here.

I thought he said it so well that I neglected writing anymore about it.  Then some other angles poked their head out at me and I thought it’d be important to discuss.  My questions center around why we don’t collaborate well in the ministry/NGO world.  I have found that I am pretty good at certain aspects of ministry and pretty horrible at others.  Luckily I know people who rock in areas of my weakness though and we’ve become friends.  I think some of them are heretics and I know some of them think the same of me :).  Which leads to my working theories…

  • We forgot which kingdom we are part of.  Everybody’s thing is the way to go.  I see it so much in full time ministry circles.  Everyone has a gap year program, an internship, etc… Much of the time, those things are exact replicates from other ministries down the street.  I wonder what could happen if forces were joined together.  How much more powerful could some of that be?
  • Power dynamics.  This is a natural issue that sits behind the above point.  “Who’s the boss?”  We should really evaluate why we’re so hungry for control in the collaboration room.
  • Insecure views of success.  We define ourselves by what we achieve (well, many of us do).  The trouble is, we measure ourselves against the measuring sticks that don’t matter: each other.
  • Theology.  Sometimes we can’t get past elements of our theologies to work together.  I see that so much and it breaks my heart.

There may be many more.  Feel free to comment and keep a dialog going.  These are the main areas I’ve seen for why collaboration in ministry/NGO world tends to fail.  Sometimes, collaboration could hinder a process.  But I would venture to say our efforts to be “jack of all trades” might be holding the larger kingdom movement back considerably.  Be the best ___ that God enabled you and your community to become.  Then find some friends who do other things you can contribute your radness too… and let’s bring on the revolution!

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