Hear from Dr. Jon Roebuck:
Hey everyone, this is Jon with Project Thrive. Today I want to discuss trait number three, which is simply called collaboration.
We have found that thriving churches know how to collaborate or build partnerships with their community.
Let me kind of set it up this way. Think with me, if you will, about a product that you would buy at a local grocery store. Let’s say you go to the store and you want to buy a can of green beans. What does it take for that to happen? Well first, it takes a farmer somewhere who plants seed, watches it grow, and then harvests that. Then he takes those green beans and they get taken from there to a cannery. They get processed, they get canned, they get labelled. Then they go from the cannery to the distributor who finally takes it to the grocery store, who puts them on the shelf so that you can buy them.
Well, as you can see, there’s a lot of collaboration that takes place. There’s a farmer. There’s a trucker. There’s a cannery. There’s a distributor, there’s a grocery store. When they work together mutually, great things can result.
Same thing happens with churches in the local context where they exist. It takes collaboration with local organizations, local agencies, [and] local non profits to really do the ministry that’s needed for that particular setting.
We have found that thriving churches know how to build mutually exclusive – mutually dependent — partnerships with the agencies around them.
In other words, we have discovered that the community needs the church to be there in order for other things to exist. And, the other things need to exist in order for the church to be there. Sometimes it would mean where the church would open its doors to local agencies to come and actually work out of their building. Sometimes it would mean the church would take some of its programming to some of the local places in order to do ministry through that particular location.
Often, churches have sort of a siloed look at themselves. They get very introspective. They begin to think only about what they can do to reach the needs of their community.
But we’ve discovered that collaborating begins sharing resources, ideas, thoughts, and dreams with other people.
So, often we sit in our churches and we think about the needs of our community and what we think everyone needs for us to do.
But instead, we’ve found that thriving congregations have gone into their communities and said “What do you need for us to do? What would it look like if we were to be a good neighbor with you?”
Based on the relationships that get built, then they begin to strategize about the programs that need to be put into place. So the trait that your church needs to think about is collaboration.
How well have we developed partnership with our community? In other words, as a congregation we want to put out as many tentacles or as many roots into the community as we possibly can. We want to be an integral part of that community and that neighborhood. Is your church a collaborative spirit? Does it have that culture of wanting to build partnerships in its community?
That’s a third but very important trait in being a thriving congregation.