A Tale of Two Churches: Cool, Competitive, or Collaborative

Cool, Competitive, or Collaborative?

A thanks to Grant English who suggested I put on my “big boy pants” and post this.

The relationship between two theologically aligned and geographically close churches is important to God’s kingdom work. At any time three options are on the table for their relationship; 1) COOL towards each other (neutral), 2) COMPETITIVE with each other (comparing), or 3) COLLABORATIVE in a strategic manner to expand God’s kingdom geographically.

Recently something happened between two churches that caused me to pray for a collaborative relationship. In hindsight, I’m not sure how collaborative the situation was; that was, until I was able to sit down to talk with someone at the other church (in the same staff position as I).  After talking openly and honestly; I took heart that we shared the same end goals.  What a positive experience this was for me.  The evil one would have loved to have used the situation for his purposes.

Some say a little church competition is good. Respectfully, I don’t agree.  No one wins when we lose sight of kingdom work while we compare people numbers, spiritual depth, financial reports, facilities, demographics, or anything else not related a win/win scenario.  I couldn’t imagine how things might have gone if I hadn’t had a few lunches under the belt with the staff person from the other church.  Praise God for His foresight into our situation.

Some say a cool (neutral) relationship is OK. Again, respectfully, I don’t agree.  Yes, it’s probably easier to be cool.  But, imagine for a minute if the relationship with my wife was cool instead of collaborative.  What if I didn’t care how she managed the kids, finances, discipline, schedule, etc.  Over time, the coolness erodes into an unhealthy relationship.  I’d want my wife to say, we’re in this together – and not only when the going gets tough, but the good times too.

I envision a future where staff from different churches (theologically aligned) – have lunch regularly to share stories, strategies, struggles, and simply be encouraged by each other. And it’s a lunch they both instigate, and isn’t the official church lunch setup in town.  It’s a lunch for the pure interest in a relationship.  And just maybe, when it’s a strategic move for God’s kingdom, the two will collaborate together to make the sum of the whole greater than its parts.

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8 Responses to A Tale of Two Churches: Cool, Competitive, or Collaborative

  1. Grant says:

    I see the pants fit and I count it a privilege to have friends – dear and deep friends – that happen to pastor at other churches.

    Friends who choose to be vulnerable and broken with each other for sake of Him becoming more and us less.

  2. Casey Moore says:

    Nice post! It reminds me a lot about Donut Church—the church that approaches disciple making like a donut shop approaches donut making. Donut Church starts to error by neglecting God. That’s right, they leave God out of the discussion. I think that’s the underlying issue with A Tale of Two Churches as well. If church leaders keep God at the core of their “business,” which they say is about God, then the collaboration you seek will be nothing more than good ole Ephesians 4 style biblical unity.

    So, I applaud your vision for collaboration among staff from different churches. It’s not pie in the sky but something that will happen when you get serious about making disciples for the glory of God by the power of God, rather than donuts for the appetite of consumers by the hands of creative men.

    Before gazing across town, though, make sure this vision has been achieved at your own church, that is, on your own church staff. The big question is: Do lunches for the pure interest in relationship happen here? If not, then there’s no wonder collaboration with staff from other churches remains vision, not reality. If your local church staff does regularly share Sesame Chicken at noon where transparent conversation is as sweet as your main dish, then share your heart and strategize your way to the next community-wide outreach, be it spreading mulch at local schools or mentoring fatherless kids downtown. That’s easy enough.

    Let me know how I can help.

  3. Jim Congdon says:

    Loved this, Casey. It’s sad to me that we who sponsored the monthly pastor’s get-together
    lunch and discussion times here in Topeka finally had to call them off for lack of interest. Sure, the pastors who didn’t attend were often busy. But a monthly get-together went a long way to reduce competition and encourage collaboration.

  4. Grant says:

    So here’s my official invitation to be collaborative – Bryan – pick a Sunday in April or late March and come lead worship for us over at Western Hills.

    Up for that?

  5. verticalresonator says:

    OK Mr. Smarty Pants Grant. You think if you comment on a public post that it’s going to shame me in coming over there. I’m a sucker. How about March 21 or March 28?

  6. John Bowes says:

    Bryan….if you need some musical support when you’re out “on tour”…I’d like to be considered “in”….

  7. Pingback: Lead #pastor shames me into leading #worship at his #church « Vertical Resonator

  8. Pingback: Bryan Nelson Rocked My Socks Off

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