One of the saddest conversations I’ve had in my time at Winebrenner was with a recently retired seminary administrator. We were discussing some of the approaches we’re taking at Winebrenner and the topic of partnerships emerged. His shocking comment was “we collaborated when we had to but most of the time we tried to do things ourselves.” As I was sharing some of the collaborative ventures I was excited about he responded with “I guess you can work with others if you have to.”
Often, when we talk about collaboration we encounter people who either “get it” or “don’t get it.” This guy didn’t get it! In other words, he wasn’t committed to an approach to theological education and discipleship that values and privileges partnerships and collaboration. One way to think about collaboration is to ask the question: What do we do best and can we partner with someone on everything else? I raised this question a few years ago in a meeting and received some push back in response. It takes a while for those engaged in conversations about partnership and collaboration to reconceptualize how they view their role within organizational life.
Partnership and collaboration is not a last resort for mission fulfillment but a key tenet of accomplishing Kingdom goals. The phrase “kingdom collaboration” has been explored by many, including a book with that title written by Reggie McNeal.
There are many starting points to discuss reimagining theological education at Winebrenner in relation to collaboration so I’ll choose one as an example. The Co-Mission digital platform is representative of the approach to collaboration embraced by Winebrenner. We’re in the process of adding content to the site but the true value will be realized when you and others contribute content. Through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Winebrenner created the site for the purpose of providing discipleship and theological education resources to students and the local church. Partnership and collaboration are woven into the design of the platform.
Hopefully you’ve encountered other efforts to collaborate in new and creative ways. If you have examples, create a short video and share on Co-Mission! If not, you can read more about how Co-Mission is helping us reimaging partnership and collaboration at Winebrenner by clicking on any of the following:
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