Below is summary of a webinar presented by The Church Network discussing the Project Thrive 7 Thriving Traits found in a congregational study conducted by Belmont in 2019. The webinar is part of a series that focuses on how congregations practice the thriving traits.

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Thriving Trait 3: Collaboration

Defined by Project Thrive: born out of humility and the desire for partnership

A willingness to learn and collaborate is necessary for a congregation to thrive. The willingness to collaborate establishes connection and gives the ability to learn from the successes and failures of others.

Necessities for Collaboration

Chris Ellis is pastor of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Chris explains how through humility, his church collaborates with other churches for a successful ministry in South Africa.

Second Baptist also organizes an initiative to help raise third grade reading levels in local schools. The initiative is achieved by collaborating with private businesses, churches, and foundations. 

Chris gives tips on collaborative work:

  1. Don’t have a set agenda, but stress the collaborative nature of your project
  2. Seek help in areas in which you lack a background
  3. Approach each situation with humility and a willingness to learn from others

Successful Collaboration

Jim Kitchens is a former pastor of several churches and consultant for the Center for Healthy Churches. Jim expands on his “humble-openness leading to collaboration.”

Jim sought help from God and others to help start a new homeless ministry. He shares what collaboration taught him:

  • A plethora of gifts are necessary for a successful church staff
  • Learn from people who know more about a topic
  • Have the humility to admit that things aren’t working
  • Different gifts have different roles
  • Absolutely approach situations with humility


Chris Ellis and Jim Kitchens actively collaborate locally and globally with others. Can you name churches, organizations, or businesses your church has worked with before? Would you categorize those relationships as collaborative?

Watch the full Collaboration webinar here.

Feel free to learn more about Second Baptist Church and Jim Kitchens.

Want to learn more about the 7 Thriving Traits? Access videos and shareable content!