Collaboration Is The Perfect Cover for Learning

In ministry, it’s important to have relationships with colleagues for support. A year into my present call, one of the associate pastors in town called several people she knew to put together an “accountability” group of pastors. We met monthly for a couple of years over lunch for no other reason than to share the victories and defeats of our work.

But it’s also important to have relationships with colleagues for learning. We need a network of peers (not all pastors!) with whom we work on projects, so that we can learn from them and they from us. This article wants you to¬†think of that network as your new mentor.

I can’t tell you how much I have learned from people in this way. I’ve started inventing reasons to collaborate with people just so I can watch them work and incorporate their habits, expertise, and skills into my own work. Tapestry is the most obvious example, but there are more.

When my colleague suggested we rethink our early morning Easter worship service as a community outreach opportunity, I pitched the idea first to the owner of my gym, because he’s a mad entrepreneur who’s really good at community outreach. A partnership with him would allow me to watch him work.

Another one. We’re trying to incorporate some artwork into our Lenten worship series on The Stations of The Cross. It’s the perfect excuse to work with my photographer friend in town. I know that if I buy him a coffee and spell out the idea, he’ll go to work. Sure enough, the wheels are spinning and he’s presenting us with an idea next week.

Learning, getting better, enhancing your skill set and knowledge base: these are perfectly sound reasons to create working collaborations with people in your network, as sound as the stated purpose of the work itself.

Of course, if you don’t have a network, building one is as easy as a single email or phone call to someone who’s work you’ve noticed.