Matt Smith asked me to write this little piece on collaboration for the World Relief NEXT website and e-newsletter. I thought I’d post it here as well!!

Collaboration is simply a word. It stands for the act of working together.
Collaboration, however, can also be a philosophy – a way of thinking, planning and doing. Likewise, it can be a theological term that speaks to the original working relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit – where difference in function doesn’t diminish equality in worth. This theological aspect is also seen in the metaphor of a body that works together even though comprised of distinct parts.
Words can have different types of meanings. They can have simple ones and they can have formal ones. Paul utilized the second type when he took the Greek word for church, ecclesia, which simply meant “a gathering”, and lifted it to a higher theological level.
I believe, what we need today is to baptize the word collaboration much the same way Paul baptized the word church.
Collaboration seems like a great choice for elevation to theological status. It isn’t overused. It has a positive motivational quality to it. And it already has the core theological principals inherent in its definition.
Collaboration helps us understand the necessity of harmony, unity, partnering and encouraging while still maintaining individuality and distinctiveness. We don’t want uniformity – the absence of diversity, but unity – the joining of diverse parts. Collaboration doesn’t destroy the dignity of ownership; rather, it harnesses and maximizes it through common calling and purpose.
What does collaboration look like? Collaboration is the diminishing of boundaries and the promotion of mutually beneficial relationships. It is the absence of direct competition and the building of win / win paradigms. Collaboration is solidarity.
It is churches, organizations and individuals working together because of the commonality of their cause rather than the dictates of their job descriptions. It is the highlighting of the needy at the end rather than the institution in the middle. It is the spotlight on the widow receiving rather than on the CEO giving.
Collaboration is the recognition of humility. It is the desire for greater good than personal gain. It is the understanding of our call to justice, the benefit of the poor through our cooperation and the joy of the orphan maximized through synergy.
Collaboration is love in working clothes.
Collaboration is the act of working together as philosophy and dogma.
With Collaboration, 1 + 1 = 3.



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