By Dave Hackett
A partnership always defines its own ground rules regarding participation. Typically ‘strong’ partnerships are based on very specific points of commonality among the participants and there are clear and reasonably costly participation requirements (those costs may be cash, resources, political, organizational, influence, personal loyalty and/or commitment, commitment of other tangible or intangible assets, or other obligations of participants).
Those costs of getting in or staying in gives potential participants pause for thought as to:
A) whether they will be able to meet and maintain the requirements of the network, and
B) whether the ‘cost/benefits’ analysis for themselves or their organization suggest that being inside the partnership has clear added value for their own vision/mission.
Strong, high performance partnerships that achieve breakthroughs go far beyond ‘commitment’ to statements and/or agreed values.
A partnership takes on or grows in value as its participants, collectively, achieve their near-term and longer-term objectives together. In the best of ministry partnerships the partnership’s identity is achieved by what it accomplishes, not by simply being a ‘member.‘
Joining the partnership involves:
- Agreeing to hold the big dream up to everyone,
- Committing to communicate among the partners, and hold one another up in prayer,
- Agreeing to work together actively on commonly acknowledged priority issues vital to realizing the big dream,
- Committing to share the information, resources, successes, credit, and other qualities that accrue from this collective effort,
- Counting the ‘cost’ of participation so that it is a soberly taken commitment to action,
- Agreeing to be actively involved in one or more of the partnership’s strategic sector projects powering key initiatives the partnership has prioritized,
- Seeking to put their influence or network of relationships into play on behalf the partnership’s vision,
- Seeking to share their own resources,
- Committing to be regularty involved in the partnership’s working meetings,
- Identifying personnel from their own ministry to play essential roles in the partnership, even to the point of being loaned,
- Finally, agreeing to be part of a partnership means to commit to receive ongoing training in partnership skills.
High performance partnerships need multiple people, men and women, in their leadership team who have been specifically trained and who have access to on-going coaching as they play their vital roles. Each of the partnership’s leaders will benefit enormously, as will the partnership itself, if they make partnership/collaboration training an essential element as they plan, prepare, and step into these kinds of partnership roles.
Rev. Dave Hackett is Senior Advisor at visionSynergy where much of his work involves collaborative global mission in the areas of digital and Muslim ministry. Living in Saudi Arabia as a child embedded Dave’s love for the world and the Middle East. He taught at Han Nam University in South Korea as a Presbyterian missionary and studied at Fuller Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Oxford University. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister since 1985, Dave was a mission pastor for eight years before serving as associate and executive director of Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship for 12 years, coordinating unreached people group mission. Dave was on the founding board of visionSynergy in 2003, and joined the staff in 2005.