I am often contacted by people who want to work with us in some way. The buzz in social service circles is “collaboration”. Grant funders go to great lengths to promote collaborations. They design grant opportunities that require it. This has created a great deal of interest in working together. These types of relationships may be beneficial to reduce redundancy of efforts and overlap of services. I have rarely seen collaborations produce long term beneficial results. If anyone cared to examine the number of attempts at collaborating with the number of sustained collaborations they might agree with me.
I believe that my obedience to the Gospel of Jesus places a higher burden on me than just collaborating. I must seek relationship first when anyone wishes to work with us. Those that also seek relationship find us a willing work partner. The difference, in my opinion, is personal. When we start with relationship we put people above everything else. We can then care for each other first and then for our joint efforts. We may laugh together, cry together and pray for each other. We will find ways to benefit each other through sacrifice and service.
As a minister of the Gospel, I recognize that the Good News of Jesus is all about relationships. It repairs our broken relationship with God. The Gospel teaches us to love each other and have relationship with other followers of Christ. God makes this relationship special through the presence of His Spirit. But the Gospel doesn't stop there. It continues teaching us to have relationship with others by showing them love. This is often done in the form of sacrificial living and serving on our part. Then the Gospel compels us to a radical course. We are instructed to love our enemies. This is not only radical but difficult.
Collaboration indicates from the very start that we are coming together to do a task or fix a problem. I am not called to Sun Ministries to fix anything. When we start with relationship, we can focus on the real goal of loving each other. When we all get better at loving each other, those different from us and our enemies I am sure our problems will fix themselves. I consider myself an ambassador of Jesus and an agent of reconciliation. If you want to work with us it must start with relationship. If that interests you then call or email me and we can sit down over a cup of coffee and see what God will do through us - tegether. firstname.lastname@example.org 636-544-2151