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Collaboration: The Next Frontier in Missions

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17 February 2015

This blog was written by Terry Dalrymple of Global CHE Network, a Micah member, and was originally published here.


“The next great frontier in mission is collaboration.
Anything less is arrogance.”
Geordon Rendle, President, Youth For Christ International

We are living in a unique time in history in which we have the ability to connect, communicate, and collaborate globally in ways that were impossible in the past. This opens doors to ministry that are unique to our generation – opportunities that did not exist at any other time in history, but have been entrusted solely to us to steward for God’s glory.

Defining Collaboration

Collaboration can be hard to define. I find it helpful to think about collaboration in terms of different levels of joint action that are all part of the process of collaborating:

  • Networking:Exchanging ideas.
  • Coordination: Exchanging information and linking existing activities to achieve better outcomes.
  • Cooperation: Sharing resources in order to create something new or to achieve a broader impact.
  • Partnership: Working jointly to accomplish a shared vision and mission.

For our purposes, we will define collaboration as “deliberately working together to accelerate the advance of the Gospel and to accomplish what no one of us could do alone”.

Benefits of Collaboration

Collaboration definitely takes energy and effort, time and resources. Before we will wholeheartedly invest in collaborative efforts, we must be convinced that it will produce a better result. We must answer the question, “Can we do more through collaboration than we can do alone?” Below are some demonstrable benefits of meaningful collaboration:

1.  Strengthening individual ministries and producing better outcomes through:

  1. Sharing information and ideas
  2. Avoiding duplication of effort (reinventing the wheel)
  3. Identifying best practices
  4. Learning from each other’s mistakes
  5. Sharing staff and expertise

2.  Achieving new things together:

  1. Accelerating work in a geographical area by coordination, cooperation, and partnership.
  2. Strengthening the credibility of our witness through expressions of unity.
  3. Exerting greater influence and mobilizing others to join the cause by speaking with one voice.
  4. Fostering creativity, gaining perspective, and creating joint solutions to achieve important outcomes.

Collaboration is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. In order for collaboration to have the intended result of strengthening our ministries and multiplying our impact, we must seek out collaboration with those who share our core values and a commitment to our cause.

Building Collaboration

How do I go about building meaningful collaboration? Here are some logical steps:

  1. Make yourself visible and promote your vision
  2. Connect with people who share your cause
  3. Exchange ideas and share information
  4. Discover what you can do together that you cannot do alone
  5. Form partnerships and take joint action