What about collaboration, cooperation and competition

What about collaboration, cooperation and competition

4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

Being one. Unity. Jesus prayed for it for his followers throughout history in John 17. Paul encouraged, even commanded it in passages such as Ephesians 4:4-6. What does it look like 20 centuries later in a world full of local churches, denominations, multi-site churches, para church organisations, mission societies and more? And that’s just within the church!

This is a real matter for us at CrossLife. This week staff from the church sat alongside senior staff from our Young Discoverers child care centres for some ongoing training, including discussing how we could work even more closely together. At a simple level we looked at three “C’s”: competition, cooperation and collaboration.

Competition is where individuals or entities compete over the same resources for their own individual goals. Resources are fought over and goals are individual. Cooperation is when two or more persons work together to a shared opportunity that will benefit many people. Resources are your own and shared as we look to the shared opportunity. Collaboration is when individuals, or entities work together to a common purpose to achieve benefit. Resources are owned as one and together we assess shared and individual goals

Competition is clearly not unity as Jesus prayed: we are to work together, not fight each other over resources. The difference between cooperation and collaboration may be something that Jesus has in mind. Collaboration is more structured and goal oriented. Cooperation is characterised by more informal and driven by opportunities.

Sometimes local churches work in cooperation: merely coming together for particularly shared events or aims. But I wonder if collaboration was more what Jesus had in mind: more structured working together to shared goals, not merely serendipitous opportunities. What challenges that would bring to our ‘default’ practises of unity …




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