I have mentioned before about how grateful I am for my family of origin. Together over the past few years, they have discerned and created a new organization called “Collaboration Ministries.” Check out the organization’s website for more on the particulars, but in the following post, I share a few things that I am particularly excited about regarding this organization’s vision, mission, and scope.
It is easy to look around your community, state, country, and the world and be discouraged. You might wonder, how come we can’t work together? Why does it seem impossible to rally around the common good?
In response to such depressing thoughts, and in the hopes of a brighter future, Collaboration Ministries was born.
The organization began through creating “menternships” or gap year experiences for young adults after college and before jumping into the workforce or graduate studies. After a few years of these offerings, it was time to dream. The organization’s first real brainstorming meeting occurred around a hotel pool in the Twin Cities in Minnesota a few years ago.
From that, and in the work done since, Collaboration Ministries has become,
“a faith based social innovation consultancy composed of highly trained and skilled practitioners dedicated to facilitating strategic thinking and action of complex issues and problems. We are particularly focused on assisting faith based organizations, non-profits, government agencies and businesses striving to be social entrepreneurs in order to support Community Building, Creation Care, and Global Engagement.”
This vision alone gets me excited, but there are a number of things which I am excited about to watch this organization’s work and future unfold, as a family member, and as someone supportive of the organization at an arm’s length (or more) of distance.**
With the vision understood, here are my top nine other things that get me excited about the organization and its potential.
- Whenever my parents get excited and are passionate about something, things happen. Seeing how they are both creating opportunities and pursuing possibilities is exciting to watch from afar.
- The principals combined have experience working on three different continents in a wide range of countries and contexts.
- The principals bring a wealth of experience and education to the table to think creatively and strategically. Between the team, there are six bachelors degrees and six masters degrees. Fields of study have ranged from management to social work, from music to religion, from psychology to economics, from theology to urban and regional planning.
- In the organization’s early days it provided full year “menternships” for at least three young adults in post-college discernment. From those, one has become a pastor, another a music teacher and professional, and another, a congregational and community director and coordinator.
- Collaboration Ministries is built on the principles of accompaniment, appreciative inquiry, and the potential of world spirit labs, with a great appreciation for the power and importance of vocation.
- The strategies and practices have been diagramed in organizational and leadership diagrams which, for a management trained person like myself, are fun to look at and think about.
- Collaboration Ministries does not claim to offer easy answers. Rather, it wants to come alongside, discern, journey with, and work together for long-term sustainable growth and change in response to needs in communities and unique contexts.
- Project areas have included areas related to: climate stresses & eco-system stresses; congregational problems; economic opportunities; housing; infrastructure and services; juvenile justice; public health & well-being; racism; stakeholder engagement & organization mission achievement; and technology and connectedness.
- This organization offers cross-sector experience to respond creatively and sustainably to particular problems and challenges, bringing innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to bear. For example, how might a congregation (nonprofit) partner with a local business to create life supporting jobs and opportunities, housing, and meet other needs to help build a community? These are some of the type of questions that Collaboration Ministries can help explore.
What are your big questions? Might an organization like Collaboration Ministries be able to help you think about them?
Check out the organization’s website, and see what you think. If you have feedback, ideas, or questions, please send them to the team.
**In the interest of full disclosure, Collaboration Ministries is led by my parents. In addition to them, my siblings, spouse and I are all part-owners. However, because of my role as the Director for Stewardship of the Nebraska Synod, I am currently a partner in name only. In caution for any perceived or potential conflicts of interest, I will not be doing any work or networking in Nebraska as part of Collaboration Ministries while serving in the Nebraska Synod, and most likely I would only be contributing through occasional writing projects and review of other projects from afar.