Stages of Development

Stages of Development


Stages of Development

Most networks and partnerships develop through a process of three basic stages: Exploration, Formation, and Operation. Some models of network development include more stages with various names, but they are essentially the same depending on the specific form and goals of the collaboration.

Here are links to resource topics that explore these three stages of development.


In the Exploration stage, we take the time to research whether a network is feasible. We identify and meet individually with potential participants, share a vision for working together, and explore their readiness to discuss a potential network. Our goal in this stage is to connect with individuals and key organizations who are influential or interested in a common area of ministry.


In the Formation stage, we convene a meeting (or a series of meetings) for potential network participants to discuss and reach consensus on vision, key issues, priorities, and possible action steps. Make the “yes/no” decision – whether or not to move forward together as a network. Our goal is this stage is to bring all interested people to meet together in order to work toward a consensus of understanding and to ultimately decide whether or not to move forward as a network.


In the Operation stage, we organize the network for action. We form working groups, set goals, define roles, and agree on timelines and points for evaluation. Our goal in this stage is to gain forward progress toward the network’s shared objectives. We must encourage open communication, broad participation, and a sense of shared ownership.

  Back to Topics