In order to launch and lead effective missional networks, we must first believe in the real potential of collaboration. Our values and vision for collaboration will be strengthened when we:
- know the Biblical basis for collaboration
- understand the motivations behind collaboration
- build on successful case studies of networks, partnerships, and other collaborations
- share a common language and terminology for collaboration
Here are links to resource topics that explore these foundational areas of understanding.
Missional networks have a Biblical basis that is rooted in the nature and character of God. Christians are called to be one in heart and purpose, and at the same time we are called to work together using our differing gifts, strengths, and capabilities. God values unity, but not uniformity. God values diversity, but not division. Collaboration is at the very center of what it means to be the Body of Christ in the world.
There are always forces at work both for and against Christian collaboration. There are many barriers to partnership – personal, organizational, environmental, spiritual. Likewise, there are many benefits that come from working together in partnership – both the practical benefits of greater ministry effectiveness, as well as the deeper relational and spiritual benefits of unity that lead to greater awareness, appreciation, communication, and credibility in our witness for Christ. No one believes in a message of reconciliation with God who does not see Christians reconciled with each other.
There is no one right method or model of collaboration. There are many different approaches to working together which can be appropriate in various situations. Network leaders should understand different models and approaches to effective collaboration that have emerged from various sectors (e.g. business, nonprofit, public/private, church/community, etc.).
One of the things that makes working in networks and partnerships sometimes difficult is a general lack of shared vocabulary or terminology. The word “partnership” itself is too often watered down to only mean “you be my partner by supporting me in my endeavor.” In many parts of the world, the idea of partnership means no more than sponsorship. But the real potential of missional networks and partnerships is much greater.